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tv   U.S. Senate  CSPAN  September 19, 2012 12:00pm-5:00pm EDT

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less than 1% of men and women who sacrificed for the 99% that did not. mr. president, it's no secret that this is not the easiest time of year to get a bill passed. it is too easy to point to the calendar here or to level accusations about politics against one another. but in my two decades on working on veterans' issues here in the senate, i have seen veterans' issues rise above politics time and again even when it seemed our backs were against the wall. i have seen democrats and republicans come together, and they've done so because there is one group of americans that doesn't care about the calendar or how days we are out from an election, and that is our unemployed veterans. what they care about is finding work in their communities, finding the work that gives them the self-esteem that they need today and finding work that helps them provide for their loved ones. mr. president, we can do that
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today. i urge my colleagues to join with us in waiving this point of order, to join with us in telling our veterans that we are not done investing in their care and benefits, not by a long shot. join with us in moving forward with a bill that is paid for, that will not add to our deficit and that should not be killed by procedural games. join with us in putting veterans above political obstruction and back to work. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. i yield back any time that we may have left. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the question so the motion to waive. the yeas and nays have previously been ordered. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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the presiding officer: are there think senators in the chamber who wish to vote or to change their vote? hearing none, on this vote, the yeas are 58 and the nays are 40. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn not having voted in the affirmative, the motion is not agreed to. the point of order is sustained and the amendment fails. under the previous order, the cloture motions with respect to
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amendment number 2789 and s. 3457 are withdrawn and the bill will be returned to the calendar. mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i now move to withdraw my motion to proceed to calendar number 499. the presiding officer: the senator has that right. the motion is withdrawn. mr. reid reid: i now, mr. presi, move to proceed to calendar number 511, h.j. res. 117, which is the continuing resolution. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: motion to proceed to the consideration of calendar number 511, h.j. res. 117, making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2013 and for other purposes. mr. reid: mr. president, i'm momentarily going to send to the desk a cloture motion that i would ask be reported, but prior to that, i'm filing cloture on this. what a shame. why would we have to file cloture on the continuing
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resolution? i mean, it's absurd. but i'll go through the process and do it. i think it's just such a shame. i have a cloture a motion at the desk and i ask that it be reported. the presiding officer: the clerk will report. the clerk: cloture motion. we, the undersigned senators, in accordance with the provisions of rule 22 of the standing rules of the senate, hereby move to bring to a close the debate on the motion to proceed to calendar number 511, h.j. res. 117, a joint resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2013 and for other purposes. signed by 18 senators as follo follows -- reid, inouye, murray, sanders, shaheen, durbin, whitehouse, stabenow, wyden, baucus, pryor, coons, tester, bennett, hagan, casey, blumenthal and boxer. mr. reid: mr. president, i now ask unanimous consent the mandatory quorum under rule 22 be waived. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, per our previous consent agreement that's now before the senate, we
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will have the cloture vote after the caucus lunches at 2:15 p.m. today. the presiding officer: under the previous order, the senate previous order, the senate
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i think there are a lot of antiobama books out there critical of the president and a lot of books defending the president. i don't want to be either one of those books. i wanted to write a book to describe and answer but i thought was the most important question, the most interesting question. let's look at barack obama as a character.
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he's a complete fish out of water in a way. here is a guy with very little executive experience. his entire life is at the committee table in the state house or the u.s. senate or in various meetings, but remember the guy in the front of the room deciding making the hard calls. very little if any management experience, and then suddenly he is in the most important managerial job in the world, president of the united states, leader of the free world and so my question was how does he do it, how does he decide and make decisions? how does he govern?
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tom goldstein and "los angeles times" supreme court correspondent david savage diprete view of the supreme court new term starts october 1st. this one hour and 15 minute discussion was part of a forum hosted by the cato institute here in washington earlier this week. >> our conference concludes with a look ahead to october term 2012. the court's docket as of today is a bit sparse, but not without
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have to. indeed, were it not for last terms obamacare and the sv1070 cases you could say the coming term would be the term of the decade. the first to sittings the court will hear cases on property rights, racial preferences and higher education, and the fourth amendment as well as a follow-up to the class-action blockbuster from a couple years ago, wal-mart for nurses do. cato followed the cases as well as in several other but if granted would be high profile as well. challenges to section 5 of the voting rights act and the scope of the treaty power, for example. then the multiple looming cases relating to a marriage and the defensive marriage act. in short, if you thought you were getting a breather this year, i'm sorry to disappoint you. to discuss the turn we have shanmugam come david goldstein and david savage. kannon shanmugam in looking ahead is a review is a partner at williams and connelly where he focuses on the supreme court
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and appellate litigation. he's argued 11 cases before the supreme court, more than any other lawyer in the firm's history except its legendary founder edwin bennett williams and the antitrust and criminal law. born and raised in lawrence, kansas, kannon received his beebee from harvard, oxford where he was a marshall scholar and his jd from harvard, where he was excited at the turn of the harvard law review. he clerked for intends aliyah and judge jay michael lewd it on the court of appeals for the circuit and joined williams and connally in 2008 after serving as an assistant to the solicitor general. perhaps most importantly he is my girlfriend's boss. [laughter] tom goldstein is at goldstein and russell, that until recently was known as goldstein allawi and russell, so we know the first power play was to remove his wife from the letterhead. [laughter]
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argued 25 cases before the court spanning a broader array of issues besides practicing law he teaches supreme court litigation at stanford and harvard law school's. in 2003 he of course founded scotusblog which makes my job easier and in 2010 became the only blog ever to receive the aba silver double word for the understanding of the ball. among his accolades the natural thing to one of the 40 most influential lawyers, the times named him one of the 90 greatest washington lawyers of the last 30 years and gq did them one better by naming him one of the 50 most influential people in washington, so we are really in good company here. there's more. the national journal twice the income of the leading lawyers under 40 american lawyer called him one of the top 45. you see where this is going. in 50 years we can expect the international law gazette to name them one of the top 100 lawyers under 100. [laughter] but really come he's slipping. 40 years ago he was one of the five lawyers under five.
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[laughter] finally david savage has been the supreme court correspondent for the los angeles times since 1986. working out of the paper's washington bureau he's had an excellent vantage point for which to observe the high court's action decision and changes over three decades. before taking up the court, david was the times education writer based in l.a.. he's the author turning right the making of the rehnquist supreme court which covered the efforts of the reagan and first bush administration to make the high court and he read the monthly column for the aba journal and offered regular commentary on the top of the nation. david, who for good deal was not a lawyer, grew up in the pittsburgh area and holds degrees from unc and northwestern. we will start with kannon. >> well, steve reed you, ilya. it's great to be here at cato to talk about the upcoming supreme court, and i guess we have
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already had one mystery solved because now we know why ilya for this very fetching suit today. he's trying to float on the pages of gq. [laughter] i don't think i have much of a shot at that because evidently you're sood has to be visible from outer space in order to be a contender. [laughter] in any event come here i was, thinking that i was somehow privileged to be asked to write the preview for the supreme court review this year when in fact i was simply asked because i happened to be ilya's boss. [laughter] in any event, notwithstanding that, it was a privilege to have the chance to write the preview with my colleague, jamie mcdonald from williams and connolly who clerked for the chief justice of years ago, and i certainly commend that to you and to the extent you find it useful i can assure you that is because of jaime's could work and not because my own. in any event, ilya did ask me to
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talk about the criminal docket this year, and i will be relatively brief because at least as of now, the court's criminal dhaka it is relatively limited. let me just say a word since i in the first substantive speaker about the upcoming term. because i really do think it has a potential to be a very interesting term. i think the last term in many ways was a somewhat unusual term because perhaps never in the modern era has a single case so dominated the attention given to the court as it was true last term with the health care cases, and of course i know you've heard a little bit about that over the course of today, and i suspect you'll hear more in the lecture to follow. but really was kind of one of those remarkable episodes in the court's history. i was sitting in my office the afternoon of the oral argument listening to the audio of the oral argument when the
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constitutionality of the individual mandate was discussed and i happened to open up twitter on my computer. one of the relatively few social networking sites in my law firm, and if you type in health care or solicitor general or paul climate or any relevant keyword there would be hundreds of not thousands of hits were stuff coming up every few seconds and it's hard to kind of think of the supreme court case that compares because the health care cases were the first major cases of that magnitude at least in the kind of internet era and certainly the biggest cases with a possible exception over the course of my own career. there's kind and after the flood sense of what is going to come next and what is going to come next are the series of quite substantial cases. i'm not sure that any of them in
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and of themselves as key to measure up to the health care case in terms of level of public attention that there are cases on affirmative action rates and things like marriage and potentially other issues that i think are going to definitely be front page stories for david in the course of the next year. i'm not sure any of the case is ongoing to discuss quite rises to that level, but of course, the night is still young and the supreme court has still a little less than half of its dhaka it to the upcoming year so to sextant this will be predicted exercise where all three of us attempt to guess what the cases are going to land on the courts dhaka in addition to the case is already there. i'm going to focus primarily on the fourth amendment, and as someone that has argued for demint in cases in the court and in the past has therefore perhaps paid particular attention to that corner of the court's docket it never ceases
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to amaze me that the court finds every year at least two or three fourth amendment cases to put on its docket. to be sure the court will confront issues involving the application of the familiar fourth amendment principles to new technologies. the last term the supreme court had the united states versus jones on the gps tracking device. i'm not sure that any one of the age of 40 would view the gps tracking device as a truly new technology. wizardly by the supreme court standards, the qualified and there is a least one case potentially on the horizon that involves new technologies. but i think it's fair to say that all of them involve old technologies, and i promised i would slip in one joke since we are going to be talking about this but it's the year the
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supreme court goes to the dogs because they have no fewer than two cases involving the application of the fourth amendment and then an unintentional active tumor would be they said both of the cases for oral argument on halloween so the court is going to ask a fourth amendment they on how we and with the two cases involving dog staff and the two cases actually both come from the state of florida and the florida supreme court so florida is the petitioner the cases will here. the canine case that is probably greater interest is a case called florida versus jardines which involves the question of whether the police can use it ought to sniff the exterior of the house. i believe in jardines the ball is literally sniffing the front
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door of the house, and this is done in order of close to determine whether or not there is contraband in the house. and it's kind of an interesting case because it really involves the intersection of two basic fourth amendment principles. it's pretty well settled the dog sniff ordinarily does not constitute a search and therefore does not require any additional level of individualized suspicion and in the series of cases involving the searches of public cases, the supreme court has held. so, if a dog comes up to you as you are waiting for your luggage to make it simpler for the amendment proposes and you're waiting for your luggage from the domestic flight, a dog can come up to you without more and of contraband is found you will be subject to arrest.
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it's whether that is different if the home is the context involved. some of you will recall that the supreme court in a case about ten years ago held that the use of a formal imaging device, device that is used to teach emanating from a house which is potentially a sign of the growth of the legal substances within the house does constitute the search for the fourth amendment purposes and that amendment was written by an interesting majority of justice scalia joined by some of the so-called liberal members in reaching the conclusion that that constitutes the search because of the kind of enhanced nature of the technology switch whether one of these principles is going to be controlling. is this controlled by the general principle that the dog sniffs or okay without more or
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is the fact that it's being used in the context of the home efficient to render the analysis different. the other case is the case called florida versus paris. it presents a somewhat more technical question about kind of the degree of the qualification that a dog has to have to give rise to probable cause so the question to the case is whether it is sufficient to kind of present a certificate of the equivalent of a doll the diploma that indicates the dog has been trained in this sufficiently trained and reliable or whether the government has to make a more detailed showing which is what the florida supreme court required and again the cases are going to be argued back-to-back on halloween. the other case that is on the courts dhaka is a case in the to be arguing on behalf of the defendant that 84 so it's not to stand before the amendment day that week at the supreme court,
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and it involves one of the questions you might have thought would have long since been settled but in fact has not been and that is the existence of a conflict in the court of appeals the question indicates. it involves one of the relatively few categorical rules the court has regulated under the fourth amendment. the rule of the case called michigan versus summers, which held that the police have the authority to detain the dhaka tens of the house execution of a search warrant regardless of the degree of individualized suspicion during the duration of the execution of the search and that is a rule the supreme court adopted because of concern for offers received the end of the desire to ensure the orderly completion of the search. our case presents the question of how far that rational extends.
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in our case the police were about to execute the search warrant in the house and sell to individuals leaving the house and they were surveying the house seemingly under cover when they saw these individuals leave and they proceeded to follow the individuals from michael we from the house to detain the individuals and then to bring them back to the house invoking the rule of michigan versus summers and the question is whether the justification for the categorical will support an extension of the world to the situation in which the individuals were detained away from the house and before the police commanded the execution of the search warrant. as with all of these cases, i would send you to tom's blog if you're interested in the cases in greater detail where you can find the briefs that have been filed today. the cato institute filed an interesting amicus brief with the ap all you provided by kathryn and others that
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supported the position of the client and argued that the categorical rule should not be suspended to the situation. there is yet a fourth amendment case or issue that could potentially land on the court's docket. this is another case that we are involved as the co-counsel on the public defender's office i think steven mercer is in the office today. it's maryland versus king and presents the application of the traditional fourth amendment principles in the context of the collection and the testing of dna evidence. this is a case involving the maryland statute to provide for the collection and testing of dna from individuals who have been arrested but not yet convicted of a crime for the purpose of investigating other crimes, so in this case our client was arrested for assault and his dna was collected and then tested and that evidence
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was used in connection with the prosecution and the question is whether that is permissible under the fourth amendment and it's an issue that presents a number of interesting subsidiaries. the maryland court of appeals, the highest state court held that there was a fourth amendment violation in the case and the state of maryland has filed a petition, which we have not yet responded to. but the chief justice did issue a pay that placed the chief justice thinks there's a fair probability that the petition for the review will be granted. without giving too much of a preview of what we are going to say in response, i would just tell you there is some degree of disagreement but i think it's fair to say that there has been relatively little written at least of the love of the state supreme court and federal courts of appeals on the specific issue
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there is a case that we argued in the ninth circuit tomorrow that presents similar issues, so i think it's fair to say that the law is still developing in the lower court. the only other thing that i would mention very quickly is that there are two cases on the docket that present an issue of some practical significance which is whether a capital defendant has a right to be competent during habeas corpus proceedings. the cases are i believe lyon and timbales, they are also going to be argued about back-to-back and i believe they are going to be argued next month. the supreme court has held there is a right to reasonably competent at the plight of execution in the case called ford versus green light -- wainwright they are confident that the time of the trial but the court has never spoken on the question whether there's a right in between.
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in the ninth in the sixth circuit they tell the there is such a right albeit resting on different grounds so i think as a practical matter those are cases that may be reasonably significant. with that i will handoff to my colleague to talk about the civil part of the courts dhaka at docket. [applause] senate thank you. it's a pleasure to be at cato. i congratulate cato for putting on a great event and running this panel and this fantastic facility, which is my first opportunity to visit and if you are watching the video you should come see the real thing in person. i'm going to talk about the business docket and while the criminal docket to tou those of us that our criminal defendants, only half of us
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probably. care about our relationship with the government when it comes to individual privacy. when can the government have a dog sniffing at the airport or homes or that sort of thing. it's relatively less common that the business cases to ask us individually and personally saw in going to cover ten cases, sixth on the merits docket and i'm going to try to do the summary for because it's not only but kannon talked about but the interesting case is that david is can't talk about, going to frame the business docket for user you have a sense of what is going on in the assumption epic a lot of these cases will not have immediate and direct influence on your life. i will give you as a as illustration of that principle the case i'm going to describe for you the allegations of the complaints and of this has happened to you, raise your hand and we will talk at greater length. the plaintiffs alleged that an
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overseas oil company conspired with the military government of nigeria to involve the nigerian government and putting down the opposition to the oil field development and so that has happened to you those my guess it's an important controversy in american law. the statute says that aliens can bring tort suits in u.s. court because the old statute, and the basis for the loss it has to be a violation by some party. a basic principal of international law which the united states had subscribed to read the court of appeals decided this case which is the nigerians versus the overseas oil company on the ground that the statute doesn't apply to companies and the supreme court had agreed to decide last term that interesting question. can you bring these suits
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against companies and in the middle of the case it became apparent that there was another bigger issue lurking in the case and that is does the statute applied extra territorially because this is a case that is brought by foreigners against the company about something that happened overseas and the supreme court was asked to decide as the statute have the ordinary presumption in american law of what happens here and the congress wants it to apply to stuff that's happened in other places or exclusively have been some other places that says so expressly. so the supreme court a few days after the rob roll argument in a case so we are going to start again. come back next term and the court will hear your argument this term and if they decide the statute applies extraterritorial the then it will decide the question of originally would hear about the atf applied to companies. the obama administration filed a brief that said maybe. it says that at least when it comes to a suit like this one which involves an allegation by
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foreigners against a foreign sovereign, this involves a conspiracy allegedly involving the nigerian government about an event that happened entirely overseas that the statute should not be read to the administration walking back earlier that the government briefs had their position said they can apply overseas extraterritorial conduct so it isn't clear what line exactly the supreme court will draw. they do for a lot to the position like this because the cases involved the foreign affairs relationship in the united states so they will certainly be important. it seems unlikely the plaintiffs will prevail in this court on this obligation, but it is and important and returning controversy that a lot of companies face, not a lot of a fair amount face very significant human rights lawsuits, and this is a to be the supreme court case that decides whether this can go
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forward. the supreme court agreed to also take up the echo of the famous wal-mart verses dukes case. wal-mart was most famous for dealing with the question of basically can you have a class-action that involves many hundreds of thousands of people there, female employees of wal-mart to worser biased by lots of different people in lots of different stores so they have a commonality to produce a single class action so you can litigate all of your claims against wal-mart together. that issue isn't going to come up but there is a little piece of the wal-mart that is and that is the supreme court in the wal-mart case said a kind of pointed in the direction of there are more merit type of issues that should be appointed at the beginning of the class-action suit just a detour about the class-action procedure and what happens in the case is that under the rule 23 of the
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federal procedure what you were supposed to deutsch is decide whether or not this group of people that supposed to be the plaintiff have a common set of issues to justify them all together. the defendants fuertes close actions because they produce a possibility of inducing very large settlements and sometimes they can be and wielding the to be incredibly important for the civil rights litigation. so the fall along cases of the term are called engender and comcast. it's about securities litigation. it's a case that involves the so-called small-market theory of secure litigation and the idea is that the supreme court says if you gather the class-action that says even though each individual investor in the company, they have to prove it is his or her reliance. i saw some misstatements by the company therefore i bought the stock or i didn't sell the stock even though that might be regarded as an individual fact rather than a common fact that the class will litigate under
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the notion of the efficient market the court will allow them to assume that material information that goes out into the marketplace will be relied on by the potential investors and that allows the cases to be litigated on an aggregate by all the investor's securities cases like this rather than each single investor having to file the securities fraud case. several things are settled should be decided by the judge before the class action gets underway, including whether there is an efficient market and whether there is a ms. statement was made the was public. the supreme court has taken up in this case the question of whether the nist statement was made was material. should that be decided at the beginning of the case or leader in the case and that can make a big difference. again in the general notion of class-action the more they can force the courts to decide early on rather than leader the better chance they have of cutting off the class action at the
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beginning. same sort of deal in the case i play a role in this case on behalf of the plaintiff. and comcast the question is an antitrust suit and the challenge comcast dominating te market for cable in and around philadelphia. before the class is certified the district judge should be deciding whether there are going to be quite as wide damage available. can all the people that were supposed to be in the class receive damages on a common basis or should the case be limited on a one of individualized basis so these are just a follow-on important lawyer cases for the proceedings of the class interest which are significant issues for the business. another antitrust case is the ftc verses put me on the question of whether have any of you opened and then sold a countywide hospital system? no? okay we will deal with this
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quickly the question on the case is when the state gives the county the power to create a hospital system, is it covering any immunity and the idea is the supreme court has said there's the sherman act, big federal law but the state itself acts as all that creates a regulatory scheme that will be anti-competitive. when the state set up the regime they don't require the composition of the time sometimes they require cooperation, then the resulting business act me of state antitrust community. you can't sue them under the act and the question is you can create a hospital system is thereby creating the antitrust immunity is the hospital system integrates itself in a way and is sold in a way that creates a monopoly in the local area moderately important question of the antitrust law. something a little bit closer to home perhaps this vance case
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that rises under a lot. the idea is if you are going to sue your employer you can sue them for something the management does come obviously but you can't sue them for something that a co-worker does because the co-worker doesn't have a responsibility to you. maybe their own individual action is not company policy. in between the two of those things, there is supervisor liability and that is the company can be held liable for its officers that directly operate the employees. the question is what does that mean to be a supervisor? does it have to be someone that can hire and fire and supervise? for example, kannon is the supervisor of ilya's girlfriend because he can full-year hurt so we should all be very careful about that. [laughter] but what kind of authority is required to trigger that
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supervisory i can tell you what to do to control every aspect in their lives in the firm altogether. that is the issue. >> so have your other partners. >> i'm just waiting to get to the erisa case like everybody else in the room. >> the erisa case which i hadn't even plan on talking about but it's so exciting, the erisa case is called u.s. airways versus mckutchin. you are the number of a erisa plan and you may not even know. you may have a health plan or pension plan. this comes up in the whole context where you are injured and get health benefits. but then you sue someone who is responsible because none of us actually cause accidents.
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the other person is at fault and we recover some amount of money from them. the question and you us airways is the ability of the plan to recoup that money from you in particular in a situation where for example you get a 20,000-dollar recovery but your lawyer as the constitution requires takes most of it. your lawyer has only an 80% contingency. so you have $4,000 left. can the u.s. airways and the situation come and take the whole $20,000 from you as a recruitment even though you don't actually have all of that money? that's the famous case. the last business case -- >> the answer is that the lawyer gets that. >> yes all good things and with the check to avoid them. the last case i will mention that is on the docket before turning his the game and fish. i would ask you again do you have tens of thousands of acres
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of land that are flooded on a recurring basis by the federal government? okay. a very unusual audience. why are you here? [laughter] the question is what is the supreme court doing taking these questions perhaps. the constitutional principle is important as the takings because the government either physically or through regulatory action can come and take our property and the constitution requires they pay just compensation. it's disputed whether the government has taken the property. this is an interesting little puzzle. every year the past six years the various government projects have flooded the land. then the next year it comes back and the government says when the water goes away you can have your land back. we only take your property when we come in and the water either
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stays there or we put that tank on it. the courts of language and then to suggest that permanent flooding is the only thing that will trigger. the position of the petitioner is basically, all on. every year we come along and it's like 8 feet of water because the federal government project a the eventually have taken our property and the question is whether that is compensable takings. the business relating sir petitions one is where kannon filed an interesting important to petition i represent a respondents on behalf of truth. [laughter] the basic -- >> we have a spontaneous court here. the issue is as follows and i will read the context because you do end up characterizing them one way or another.
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there are drug companies that have patents that invest a lot of money getting their products to market. there's a statutory scheme that encourages generic drug companies to challenge the validity of the patent or whether the products would infringe and these like many disputes get settled. the year settled in a somewhat unusual way sometimes with the brand name with a number of factors including the payment to the generic company to defer its entry and as a result that the market. the question is what point and what extent are they subject to that scrutiny or not the majority rules as they are not subject to antitrust scrutiny and the theory being the notion of the patent is to be able to exclude competition and there is nothing unlawful about that. the story of the other side is that while you are going beyond the right because it is being
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challenged and you are preventing competition and so kannon says and the court of appeals and various observers have said and the government has said there is a circuit conflict about that question and this is a question the supreme court has seen several times. three other cases relatively quickly. rjr has a surreptitious but the rules for the definite miss -- indefinite minsk. it says if you're going to get a patent you have to definitely explain what it is you have a task force. the reason this audience somebody might know what is i can do we and i know what it's invention has been created and the federal circuit much of its use of jurisdiction of wise is it has to be comprehensible. we have a sense of we have a big trial then we can to get rid of, and rjr says that is not good enough.
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there's an interesting server petition filed by the development of a statute that says if you are going to get aids funding, you have to have a policy that opposes sex trafficking. now, one would think that wouldn't be that controversial. i don't know a lot of organizations that are like go six trafficking. but it does raise an interesting first amendment question of whether the government can say to you you have to express the point of view or whether that is okay because it is a part of the government funding program. that is an interesting question and the last case that i will mention is the mount holly case that i have done last year but was resolved on the other side when they gave up. not for any reason having to do with me. the question is under the fair housing act which is a major piece of civil rights legislation that deals with how it is often invoked for example to allege that lenders are only
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offer offering to the particular neighborhoods and also to people with particular races whether you can bring a disparate impact claim under the federal fair housing act. the difference between the disparate impact clean and treatment is the disparate impact is discrimination of this unintentional and that is you have some policy that has an adverse effect on a protected class, say the minority, and even if you didn't intend to discriminate against nevertheless what you have done is illegal and the disparate impact claims are anathema to many conservatives on the supreme court to perhaps five of them which it turns out is all you need. but the supreme court isn't considered a question of such a claim available under the fair housing act, so that is the current business dhaka it and what i expect. thank you very much. [applause] >> thank you. it's good to be here. i had offered to arm wrestle tom
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earlier over the game and fish but after talking with him i realized he was heavily invested and the same with cannon and the dog sniff. they have left for me the cases, the important cases involving race and a gay-rights, so thanks there's a big college affirmative case you probably read about it. this is the latest iteration of a very old question. can the government in this case the state university give an advantage to a student because of his or her race to give sort of an edge to black or hispanic students in the interest of diversity, changing the university or does that violate the rights of a white student who says i was denied the equal protection of the law. the interesting twist in this case and what you should really watch is the question of the
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so-called race neutral alternatives. about 15 years ago, 1997, a federal appeals court in texas said you may not use race for affirmative action at the university of texas. this did the legislature and mexican-american woman in the state legislature sponsored a bill signed into law by then governor george bush that said the state is going to grant automatic admission to its public universities including ut austin to the top 10% graduates in all of its high schools all across the state, and this really transformed education and access. now mexican-american kids in the rio grande valley, african-american students houston or dallas, rural white kids across texas suddenly had an opportunity to go to duty
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austin. and over time the percentage of the students coming into ut austin steadily rose and the alternative is those kids were getting in because they did very well in high school. but in 2004 after the supreme court had narrowly upheld the race-based affirmative action and the university of michigan case, texas announced that they were going to go back to using the rates, but for a very limited part of the class. it's only about a quarter of the freshman class so three-quarters of the kids come in under the race neutral plan it's now called the top 8% they scaled it back a little bit. one quarter comes in under the so-called holistically view where they say we are going to consider a whole lot of things about a student. we want to be able to have some discretion to pick our students and the university says if we have a kid interested in the
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architecture or music for plays the oboe we want to be able to choose that kid, so we are now defending the use of race for a limited part of the class so this is how the case arises. after that happens, a young woman named abigail fisher was turned down in 2008. she's a white student in texas, strikes me as a good but not excellent -- shia good but not excellent grades. she didn't get the top 10% of her class and she's the kind of student who could have gotten in but as i say was turned down, so she sued them and said i was discriminate against. i wouldn't think she would have a strong claim but she is able to say texas has a process where race plays a role and therefore i was discriminated against. the fifth circuit, the federal court in texas upheld the texas policy because they said the
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supreme court already set in the michigan case you can consider race in a very limited way. texas is doing that. but the supreme court then granted it and this is an interesting case because the middle and vote now is justice kennedy. it used to be justice o'connor. she's gone to the justice kennedy has dissented in every affirmative action case, every race case but he said in 2003 -- >> in upholding the programs. >> yes. opposed any use of race but in 2003, she wrote that he could accept the notion going the way that the university could consider race as a modest factor but that he said before we approve a race-based scheme, that was his phrase, we should seriously force the universities
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to consider race based alternatives. i'm sorry, race neutral alternatives so that is essentially where we are now. here's the situation where texas has a race neutral alternative that's brought a significant number of minority students in. the university is saying we should be able to go further consider race. one thing that surprised me, i was down in texas and talk to people about the case is that overwhelmingly the minority students that come into texas, the automatic emissions. it is the - ten in some years. and in 2011, 36% of the kids who came under the automatic or hispanic or black. under the holistically view was about 17 or 18%.
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so texas is actually -- the minority students are doing much better under the automatic review policy. so i don't know what the court is going to do with this but the interesting thing to watch is that justice kennedy and the conservative justices say something like you as a university cannot have a race-based affirmative action plan if a race neutral policy could work, and that could have an interesting impact. you could write an opinion that is a texas only case. some people say texas is the only one that has had this much success but it's the interesting twist to watch in that case. the other is the voting rights act and section 5. you know what this is about. since 1965, the south has been under a sort of special
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scrutiny. you can't change your election law and voting rights law until you get a preclearance of washington. the federal court, the justice department. the question is is that policy so updated and fair to the southern states that it should be essentially struck down? it strikes me that the five justices are going to be inclined to think as they have sort of hinted before indiana, pennsylvania, wisconsin can pass voter i.d. law and those can go into effect even though they may have a real impact on the minority voters. but south carolina and texas have been blocked from having the identical law and i think it is could be very hard for the defenders of the coverage formula, that is the formula that says only the southern states are under this rubric to
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defend that when it seems that ohio and pennsylvania have the same sort of voting problems that texas or south carolina does. they have a couple of pending cases coming away on that. i did the general view is they are certainly going to hear one of those cases, and i would think that as a better than average chance that section five is going to be limited or struck down or something to say that it's outdated. the other big case that we are pretty confident you're going to take is the gay-rights and the defense of marriage act. if this is not a question of whether gays can marry in states, the question is in states where gay marriage is legal to those married gay couples have a right to equal benefits under federal law. the first circuit court in new
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england acting on a suit brought by several couples in massachusetts, they were leglly married in massachusetts, but yet they can't finally joint federal tax return. or if one woman works for the postal service and her spouse is at home, can she be on that health care plan? this is a question of equal treatment for legally married gay couples. i think it is likely the court is going to take this case and it's free likely i think that justice kennedy in the more liberal justice knows who else are going to rule that says this denies these legally married gay couples equal protection and the law. and as i say, nothing about that is depending necessarily says whether they have a right to marry in mississippi or nebraska it's only the states where gay marriages legal. but that should be one of the interesting important cases because another thing to watch
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for, the supreme court has never said what is the standard of review when there's discrimination against gays. in this question they may be called upon to decide something about discrimination against gay generally unconstitutional or is it generally located? it's never quite said so that is another thing to watch for in this case, the defense of marriage act will be decided later in this term. i think i will stop right there. [applause] >> i think it is truly worth mentioning what david said there is a petition pending before the supreme court would constitutionality this is a challenge in which david represents a couple who,
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same-sex couple who wish to be married in california, and that case more squarely presents the question of whether there is a constitutional right to same-sex marriage and that case just happens to be on the more or less the same timetable as the cases of living but defensive marriage, so the interesting question is going to be which of all of these cases the supreme court takes and whether the supreme court might take one or more of the cases involving the defensive mayor jack and then hold the position case pending the disposition of the cases or whether the supreme court is just going to let a thousand followers lubber and take all these cases together and we will know the answer to that i think reasonably soon. >> my personal opinion is that the case is less likely to be taken just because reinhardt, the ninth circuit judge that wrote the opinion in the surge of conservative but he wrote it in a manner that we in
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california and proposition 8 specific so it's easier for the justice to decide if they want to dodge the bullet right now they could i think more easily than some of the other cases. >> questions? >> i should announced before that immediately following when the panel concludes we are going straight to the simon lectures and please, stay in your seat. questions? >> from the individual rights foundation the question concerned in the case for the panelists who might want to comment that is what impact do you think would be played by the showing that has been made i know of some of the yen because of race and i believe one of the play briefs about the work of richard sanders showing the impact of allowing students who were for affirmative action with
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because they are a legacy of affirmative action or racial sex base entities. but if there gpa and their s.a.t. scores are significantly lower than their colleagues, the odds are many of them will drop out or will do very badly. so there is the new showing that the affirmative action may be paying a huge price because the statute that lets them communed without provocation of their peers is counterproductive and they do less well than if they went to a second-tier school or not quite as good as the university of texas. >> anyone want to comment on that? >> it certainly is a brief and a set of studies that would make
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some people who are a little bit skeptical of affirmative action say this isn't even helping the kids that it is supposed to help. but the reason i don't think -- i think there are five skeptics of affirmative action already on the supreme court. several defenders, so i think it is an interesting research and i don't think it will necessarily change much at the supreme court. >> i read the book yesterday on the plane and its tremendous. mismatch by stuart taylor and richard sander, but i would tend to agree with that. you can see an opinion already knows against texas and this doesn't help people in something like that. >> the other thing i would say about fisher in more general
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germane to your question the bible say it any way i do think that it's interesting in looking at the merits just how clearly they are targeted at justice kennedy given the fact as david noted certainly not in the recent terms and voted to sustain the produce someone told me that there is something like 59 checks to justice kennedy and the party briefs alone. so clearly people are picking up on the language from his opinion on the sort of race neutral alternatives and attempting to kind of turn that to their net advantage. but for what it's worth -- and unusually hesitant to make predictions about outcomes in the supreme court cases i do think this is one area in which the changes, the recent changes in the court's membership really do have the potential to make an outcome this positive for different. there is a sense in which the recent replacement have in a very broad sense been like for race i don't think that is true
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with the effectiveness of justice o'connor and justice alito and i do think that the writing is on the wall in this case. civic the handwriting is on wall with a number of things justice kennedy would have his hand on and the supreme court has been revisiting a lot of them what justice alito appointed. this case has the odd feature for the plaintiff could it from college so there's an overly on this case for the procedural posture and whether it's moved. the court took the case fully aware of that fact for long consideration for the possible outcome is it turns into nothing because the court decides it is inappropriate to decide these issues but the question is coming as our other important questions like religion in the post o'connor era and of course the court could just read
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construe the racial preferences. >> another in the front row. >> just very quickly on the defensive marriage cases coming up, the full faith and credit clause be impacted at all or would this be a matter of federal benefit? >> no, remember there were two parts of the defensive marriage act one was originally passed in 1996, all the talk then was this question of the fear that if one state has a gay marriage, all of the other laws are going to fall like dominoes. massachusetts is going to have gay marriage to initially say the state's need not recognize
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same-sex marriages from other states. but that issue is not being challenged in this case. so, that part of the law stands. this is only the federal benefit part of the law. >> well, i have a question. i don't know if you care to speculate about why harold koh, the state department legal but pfizer that signed the first brief in the case on the real argument whose name does not appear and do you think that he's saving his way back to academia or something or just disagrees minute late? >> this is one of the inside baseball washington, d.c. sorts of things where on the briefs of the government, they will follow the brief and the solicitor general's office and the agencies and departments and the executive branch that are heavily involved in the case will very frequently signed a brief as well. and as was mentioned when this
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case came around the first time the state department signed the brief, and an indication of the state department believe in a foreign policy interest of the united states were heavily implicated in the day agreed with the brief that was filed. now, the importance of the case to the international relations hasn't gone down. the ready inference from the fact that the state department's legal at pfizer signing on to the brief is the state department or the illegal but dysart agrees with a brief but that is just an entrance no matter how powerful. >> you will let us know when you get it, right? >> my name is paul with capital strategies. but the question about the voting rights act to reduce the agony of the former cato --
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>> i have a question about there's a gentleman talking about the evidence, and judge williams in his dissent i thought we got some pretty powerful and empirical evidence to the formula of the was used in the criterion was used dating back to 1973 and how there is simply no fit anymore and that wasn't convincing the d.c. circuit and i wondered if there is any prognostications that would be more convincing to the supreme court. >> yes, it will be more convincing. >> it's also the cousin of the question about the misfit evidence when it comes to affirmative action and the justices have seen section 5a lot. justice kennedy has written a lot about it and house very strong views to begin with. so, i agree it will be more persuasive but it's mostly going
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to be confirmatory of about many of the justices that, you know, this list of the covered jurisdictions the subject to restrictions of section 5 was created in another era and when the congress reauthorize the voting rights act and section 5 for 25 years, all of the the list seems an awful lot like the old list, and there may be a misfit as well. i don't think -- for those justices and there are likely at least for that strongly believe in the section 5 procedures i don't think this will change their mind, but it may confirm the view of the rest of the court. >> section 5 in the voting rights act as such an important historic impact. and i think that is the main reason the congress has never quibbled with the formula coming into the supreme court stopped short of striking it down three years ago. that was one of the most successful most effective in the
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20th century that changed the situation where blacks were simply barred from voting throughout the sofa and for so many years the southern states and municipalities have so many tricky schemes to prevent blacks in voting it seemed like the only way to do it was to put them under the federal scrutiny. but all the years down the road it is much harder to say that the southern states are totally different than ohio and pennsylvania. i had to write about this a lot and it's hard to explain. a couple weeks ago there was a decision involving florida. but, you know, for another five counties in florida that are governed by section 5 and 62 counties, the rest of the states are not. so, they are cutting back on an early voting in florida, the legislature cut back on early voting. you could argue, and this court
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does agree with that that they would have an impact on the minority voters that voted heavily in the weekend before. but, the court that handled the case basically had to say in writing it i had to explain this decision actually affects a couple counties and you'd be hard pressed even if i told you what they were. what is the common theme? some small counties, one big county. in today's world it seems like either all of the states, and maybe the whole country should be under this special scrutiny if you are going to come up with fees' that seem intended to disenfranchise poor people or minorities, or you should lift it and none of them are but it's hard to explain how this current formula can stay for another 25 years.
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>> it's a bizarre list of jurisdictions not just the deep south with the old confederacy. i think the states in the old confederacy ran the counties and other places three counties in new york state, all of new york city i wrote in the brief there are four justices from gotham and the court nominee they can explain to the rest of us what is going on in the bronx and manhattan if not in queens and staten island. >> monterey county california? >> i would add one thing on this which is that i think that these issues with the coverage formula potentially give those members of the court who are skeptical about the validity of the section 5 a more palatable way of resolving the case because they could potentially declare the coverage for me what invalid without directly in devotee did the section 5 itself. and so those members of the court who are concerned about
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the institutional reputation of the court. an opinion that basically says we are throwing this back to congress for you to come up with a more coverage formula. it may be more palatable than saying to the congress look, there is no way of skinning this section five cat. and i think that is potentially a much easier way for the court to resolve the case. but one that may actually end up having essentially the same practical effect because goodness knows it is so hard to get any legislation through the current congress to try to get the current congress to agree on exactly which states and some divisions of the states are covered strikes me as potentially a difficult and political task. >> walter river for law and
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justice. you mentioned in the opening scope of the treaty power if you were referring to the bond case could you enlighten the audience on what is and why it's important to know the answer is? >> this is potentially a really good serve petition by paul clement who's going to be speaking very shortly. it seems -- i joke with paul beinecke living commenting on the brief and supporting the various cases. he of course argues half of the supreme court dhaka every year. this case two years ago just like tom looked at those cases that affect all of us, this one is the garden variety case involving federalism, adultery and chemical weapons, right? [laughter] this woman learned that her best friend was pregnant by her husband. and instead of divorcing him or
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are doing, you know, she does not insure some of you might want to do, which is that some chemicals, not particularly novel chemicals that she has access already doing her work in the lab, nothing to exotic or illegal to possess, but she uses these chemicals and sprinkles them on her friend's mailbox, the door handle to her car and other places, so this woman gets charged with attempted murder, assault, something like this, no. she gets charged by the federal prosecutors with violating the federal statute that implements the international treaty on chemical weapons proliferation. [laughter] the first question of course comes to mind the first issue the supreme court has to deal with is can she even defend
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herself by attacking her prosecution. is the federal government of using its power by using this type of tree be implementing statute to go after her? and the federal government eventually changes its mind as well. okay we will let her defend herself, and the court unanimously to issue an opinion with strong language from justice kennedy writing the majority not just about that opinion, but great language how the constitution is there to protect liberty and things like this. ..
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not clear exactly because its opinion, but also it has been interpreted over the years to mean just that, that treaty can extend federal power. the third circuit says our hands are tied. missouri binds us. but, there are reelected to do so, and one judge rights separately, effectively, to ask the court to please take this up and other clarify, overrule, or do something. so that's, plus paulsen not being on this repetition, plus kate of filing an amicus brief, it will get up there. our brief is based on and written by -- based on the work of and didn't to covered by a professor at georgetown who is now a senior fellow at the cato. this beautiful article called executing the treaty power,
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diving deepened the technical details. the structural provisions of the constitution. hopefully this will go up. the minimalist fashion, we don't need set overrule ends a say that it only applies to of treaties. "their is a and way back there before. >> alexander, and i would like to ask those with expertise in the craftsmanship of judicial opinions. and with expertise on the text of the voting rights act. if we have any sense. i'm guessing, perhaps, we might.
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whether the voting rights act is written in such a way that the supreme court could conceivably strike down the coverage formula and leave the rest of section five standing such that until congress acted, the prevailing law would be that pre clearance applies nationwide. all right. and it -- >> i think the really interesting. >> -- question, and i am no expert on the craftsmanship of judicial opinion. i will take that shot at this. it seems to me that what congress did do what the supreme court could do is to essentially say, look, section five cannot really operate without a coverage formula, so, you know, while the ball is back in congress's court, to mix my metaphors, section five
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essentially cannot operate because it cannot operate without a coverage formula. i don't know how that dovetails with the language. at least looking at how reenforcing. i suspect that there is enough flexibility in the statute to prevent the court from doing that and certainly in looking at the way the case has been litigated, at least today, there is a really heavy suggestion, that is kind of option number one for the course. so, again, i think the only awkward this is to figure out a way to a craft the interim well congress is attempting to do something, knowing that that interim remedy could turn out to be permitted if congress does not come up with the new coverage formula. so it is a very interesting question and will be very interesting considering the section five issue in shelby county, or one of the other cases to see how the litigators try to position that as a possible
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alternative. >> in for those who want to look up the text for yourself its section four be of the coverage. >> joe murphy, litigating attorney in washington d.c. this is a matter that has not been addressed yet. we have had a housing crisis, and there are state and county and municipal governments that are beginning to tinker with mortgages and underlying contracts. has anyone seen in the cases of -- coming up that involve article one section ten which prohibits the state in parent of contracts and contracts clause? >> i was just going to say that there are not any pending, so
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there is nothing that i'm aware of. >> there are a couple of cases winding their way through the courts, challenging dodd-frank, which is completely unrelated to your question. i don't think it's a contract thing. separation of powers of a few other things. but heading of the litigation effort. the most notable one of those. i think they are still in the motion district court right now. this will be the last question. >> washington legal foundation. my question is about national security cases and the supreme court up until about 2008. we have a lot of challenges that reached a record. since then there really have not been any. the only case they took was the one in which they were going to
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reverse a lower-court decision. i was wondering if anyone wants to comment as to why the court sees much more reluctant to take cases that they did previously and perhaps it had something to do with liberals on the court having greater faith in the obama administration and foreign policy than the bush a minister should. >> to early we'll solve all of our national security problems. >> reported in some detail on the underlying habeas litigation involving detainees and over a fair number from various judges, the supreme court has seemingly show no willingness to wade back into that. as you say, the only case that the court has on its docket right now is the case which involves a somewhat peripheral question about whether a
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particular individual can have standing to challenge some of the procedures that are mandated and i think that is, you know, kind of an interesting case, but not really a big ticket case. at the -- i suppose one could infer from the facts of the court, not waded into that detail the cases. the supreme court has had a generally comfortable with the way that the d.c. circuit has and all the tissues. again, that is an inference. we really don't have any indication of whether the supreme court is, in fact, comfortable. let's have a hand for our panel. [applause] please stay in your seats for the lecture. thank you. [background noises]
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>> the u.s. senate is in recess right now after earlier voting to block legislation that would have established a billion dollars jobs program for veterans modeled after the great depression is job pork. republicans say the spending violates limits that congress agree to last year. democrats fell to ship -- two votes shy of the majority to waive the objection. when senators returned about 215 eastern it will be federal spending for the first six months and the new budget year that starts to reverse. live coverage of that debate when the gavel and again at 215 here on c-span2. nobel laureate end opposition leader receives a congressional gold medal today. 1991, placed under house arrest while running for public office and was held in detention for almost 15 years. this is her first visit to the u.s. and 20 years. you will be able to see that gold medal ceremony live at 3:00 eastern on c-span three. tomorrow the house oversight
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committee hears from the justice department's inspector general about operation fast and furious that led to the death of a u.s. border agent. their report released and how the agency handled its investigation into the gun running sting operation. live coverage tomorrow morning at 930 eastern. white house press secretary jay carney says the release by the romney campaign of 1998 audio recording of president obama commenting on the redistribution of wealth is an attempt to shift the focus. 47 percent of americans see themselves as victims. we will show you as much of this as we can at today's twice -- white house briefing as the senate is set to return at 215 eastern. >> hello, everyone. it afternoon. or good morning. thanks for being here. before i get started, as some of you have seen reported, i can
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tell you that later this afternoon the president will meet at the white house. he looks forward to the visit, as it provides another opportunity to reaffirm our longstanding support for the struggle and the struggle of many others toward democratic, just, and transparent governance in burma. this is her first trip to the united states in more than 20 years. the president very much look forward -- looks forward to that visit. that's all i ever the top. late afternoon, around 5:00. [inaudible question] >> we are still press coverage dvd. we're working on it. jim. >> thanks, jay. the foreign-policy reports that iran is using iraqi airspace pet get weapons to syria, the senate confirmation hearing. what steps are the president prepared to take if there are
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some? financial aid. >> let me just say broadly that we have made clear to countries around the world that we all need to work together to prevent a son from acquiring weapons that he can used said continue to perpetrate violence against his own people. and that is a message that we carry in conversations leaders everywhere. as of anything specific with regard to iraq. but that's is something we are concerned about generally. we have worked very hard with our international partners to cut off access to weapons and financing for assad, and we continue to do that.
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>> secretary panetta's return from his trip there and report that the chinese leaders are expressing concern over u.s. military shifts in that -- ships in the pacific. does the white house have any concern that that together with the attention that china has been getting, the presidential campaign, increasing in the tensions with the chinese to iraq. >> what i said yesterday holds true today, which is that we have a very complex, a broad relationship with china that is extremely important, and we, when we meet with the chinese at a level of the president below we engage with them on all of the issues that are part of our relationship, and that includes areas of disagreement as well as areas of "race and an agreement. we obviously have an important trade relationship and economic relationship as well as military to military relationship.
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we are, as the president made clear on his trip to asia, a pacific power. we have a presence there that is important to. the united states and to the region. and we intend to pursue that. but if this is about broader issues that china, it is about the fact that the united states has obviously been a pacific power with specific interests in june of this president believes that in the eight years prior to him taking office there was all loss of focus when it comes to asia by the previous of restoration because of all the concentrated attention on iraq in particular, and he has sought to rebalance our national security for a policy and international economic posture
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toward asia for that reason. >> protesting in china, the u.s. presence has unfolded. other countries like japan, territorial disputes. some people feel that the scale of this. >> no, look. we believe that good relations between china and japan benefit everyone in the region. u.s. policy on the senate islands which is the issue at the moment is longstanding and has not changed. the united states does not take a position of the question of the ultimate sovereignty of the island, and we expect the claman's to resolve the issue through peaceful means a lung themselves. >> does the president have any reaction? >> his position has been that he hopes to see both sides in the
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dispute come together, recent agreement that could serve and would serve the interests that are paramount to the interests of the children of chicago, the students in the chicago school system, and he certainly welcomes resolution to the dispute and welcomes the fact that kids have returned to class this morning. >> and at the risk of sounding like a broken record, oil prices have fallen again. nothing updated to say? >> i don't. our thinking remains what it was . in regular consultation with our international partners we monitor global oil markets and we keep our options on the table to deal with disruptions if necessary, but i have no announcements to make on that.
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>> is there a price level that would chase this thinking and all? >> well prices and/or gasoline prices. >> again, jeff a way it is the kind of thing that i will get into great specificity on. we simply monitor the situation. remindful of the impact that higher global oil prices have on global economic growth of america and mindful of all the various implications that arise when you have situations like that, but i'd you know, not going to get into the details of price levels or reserve levels. suffice it to say that the president insists that all options for dealing with this issue remain on the table, and that includes the spr.
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>> saudi arabia. can you talk a little bit about the negotiations or discussions happen between the white house or u.s. officials on this? >> no. i can simply say that we welcome the saudi arabian oil minister's recent remarks and share his concerns about rising oil prices broadly speaking, not in recent days, but rising prices in the international oil market, and we welcomed saudi arabia's continued commitment to take on the necessary steps to insure the market is well supplied and help moderate prices, but we have ongoing consultations and conversations with our allies and their partners, including saudi arabia on this issue and many others. >> in the wake of the benghazi, that the pentagon and state department both made statements involving whether or not there were marines at the facility.
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there were not to when the state department regarding the presence of security firms of the compound. why was there such confusion? and is the white house or anyone conducting an internal investigation as to what went wrong? >> well, there is an ongoing investigation into what happened the magazine is being led by the fbi, and -- >> the criminal acts. obviously it wasn't national-security. that is along the lines of what was wrong, what the best fishing could have done better. >> at the cow would refer you for questions about security about -- at the beth because the facility and broadly speaking in a diplomatic facility consulates and embassies around the world to the state department. in terms of the statements that were corrected by defense our state, i would refer you to those departments. you know, from our perspective we got out to you the
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information that we had as soon as we had it, and it was available. our assessment of what happened has been based on the best available of affirmation that we've had. there is an ongoing investigation led by the fbi now going back to specifically what happened. levirate the result of that investigation for more information about the protests and the attacks and what precipitated them into participated in them. with the primary objective here of fulfilling the president's commitments that those people responsible for the deaths of four americans be brought to justice. >> what reason could there be, or let me rephrase that. you made the decision that there should not be perris at our diplomatic posts in libya. more than half have people there
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to protect. but to have them there. he made the decision. >> well, i think security at diplomatic facilities is overseen by an run by the state department, so i would refer you to them about how decisions are made about the allocation of resources was. i think they're the best people to answer that question. >> some concerns that there was a failure by someone in the of ministration to insurer added that security measures? >> well, the concern that violent actions were taken that led to the deaths of four americans. you could be sure that he is concerned about that and he is absolutely concerned that we take the necessary measures to make sure that those who killed americans are brought to justice, and he has been focused from the beginning of assuring
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that adequate security reinforcements be brought to bear at embassies and consulates and diplomatic facilities where deemed necessary. again, an investigation, a broad investigation into what happened at howard why, and we will await the results. >> the perpetrator. >> well, i think it encompasses everything that happened. i'm sure that they will look at everything that happened. i mean, i would refer you to the fbi for details. but, look, i mean, what happened -- >> an unstable country, individuals who are armed, the government decided it itself cannot provide security, the ready to do so. and it was not that complicated to discern that there needs to be some sort of serious security
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effort there to protect our diplomats. >> i appreciate the question to lead and extended, and i can simply say that there is an active investigation into what happened that led to the killing of four americans. the president has taken action to make sure that we have reinforced security at facility's as deemed necessary and is very focused on ensuring that we bring to justice those who killed americans abroad. but i appreciate your question. the death toll you know, we are awaiting the results of the fbi investigation. >> another subject. does the president have any response to the office of special counsel report on secretary sibelius' violin? >> i have not spoken to him about it. i think that she has responded to that, and made sure that was,
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you know, her remarks were a extemporaneous. the health and human services department to essentially testify the of it to meet the correct standard. the u.s. treasury has been reimbursed. and the secretary has met with ethics experts to insure the store happens again. the air was immediately a dallas by the secretary of proper corrective. no taxpayer dollars or misused. >> so as far as the president is concerned but that is the end of the matter. >> the action has been taken to remedy what was the result of an added burden they're based on a separate -- is to break his remarks. signal is it, corrected it, and insured a taxpayer dollars are used and that the department reclassify the event. >> aside from the fbi
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investigation does in the fbi i have its own intelligence that allow you to say with some degree of certainty that the attack at benghazi was either a coordinated attack or a spontaneous? >> the white house does not have its own intelligence. the white house -- >> abby, outside the intelligence community of the u.s. this government. we have a clandestine intelligence operation? >> are able to find out a lot of affirmation on your own independently. i'd say come in addition to what the fbi is doing does the white house not have information that it has gathered. >> ethier lee and investigation that will encompass all the available information to the white house and the intelligence community and the broader diplomatic community. what i can tell you is that, as i said last week, as our ambassador to the united nations said on sunday, and as i said the other day, based on what we
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know now and new at the time we have no evidence of up preplanned or premeditated attack. this, however, remains under investigation, and i made that clear last week. and the ambassador made that clear on sunday. and if more facts come to light that change our assessments of what transpired in benghazi and why and how to we will welcome those facts and make you aware of them. again, based on the information that we had at the time and half to this day, we do not have evidence that it was premeditated. it is a simple fact that there are imposed war with libya, armed groups, bad actors, has still to the government, hostile to the west, hostile to the united states.
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and as has been the case in other countries in the region, it is certainly conceivable that these groups take advantage of and exploit situations that developed, when they developed o protest against or attack either westerners, americans, western sides to more american sites. again, this is something that is under investigation. we have provided you our assessment based on the information that we have had as it has become available to as more permission becomes available. we will make clear what the investigation has revealed. >> around afghanistan, given some of the developments that we have seen, does the president still believe that afghan forces are capable of handling their own security and will be able to do so in time for the 2014
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deadline? >> the president believes that after a decade of war we can't should pursue a strategy that transitions security authority over to afghan forces and allows us to the end the war in afghanistan and bring home our men and women in uniform. that process is underway. we have gone to this point because the president, having inherited a policy in afghanistan that was widely viewed as a draft, without a focused mission, under resource to, he very deliberately, working with his national security team, hold it on what the proper objectives should be in afghanistan, made clear that our number one objective in that region was to disrupt,
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dismantle, and ultimately defeated al qaeda, and to ensure, in support of that goal, that afghanistan did not become a safe haven again for al qaeda or other extremists who have their objective as attacking the united states or u.s. allies. and that, the execution of that strategy continues. it led initially to a surge in u.s. forces, which halted the momentum of the taliban which allowed us to take the fight to al qaeda in the region in a way we had no appeal to before. it led to the decimation of that leaders of al qaeda including the elimination of osama bin laden, and has now allowed us to draw down the surge forces and to continue the transition to afghan security forces responsibility for security of that country. that process continues, as i
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said the other day. we are very concerned about that agreed on blue attacks that have been taking place in afghanistan , the increase in those attacks. commanders are taking measures to insure that there is more security for our troops in afghanistan, but the process of ordering with and trading afghan security forces continues to command the process of transitioning to afghan security leak continues. in the president has made clear that the case -- the drawdown of u.s. forces will continue. the pace of that will depend upon evaluation and assessment by commanders on the ground. but it will continue, and he remains committed to ending the war in afghanistan, in keeping with that nato objectives, by 2014. >> do you think there will be prepared? >> we will leave the white house
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briefing at this point to live up to the floor of the u.s. senate. lawmakers are set to take up temporary federal spending bill passed by the house. 5.j. and now, live senate coverage here on c-span2.g appropriations for fiscal year 2013, and for other purposes. the presiding officer: by unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum call has been waived. the question is, is it the sense of the senate that debate on the motion to proceed to h.j. resolution 117, a joint resolution making continuing appropriations for fiscal year 2013 and for other purposes, shall be brought to a close? the yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule. the clerk will call the roll. vote:
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quorum call:
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the presiding officer: on this vote the yeas are 76, the nays are 22. three-fifths of the senators duly chosen and sworn having voted in the affirmative, the motion is agreed to. the senator from montana. mr. baucus: three months ago the united states senate came together and passed a full five-year farm bill. we did not kick the can down the road. we passed a bill working together that provides the certainty america's farmers and ranchers need to continue supporting rural jobs and
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putting food on our tables. so there is absolutely no excuse for congress to adjourn without sending this bill to the president's desk and being signed into law. still, because the house refuses to even bring this bill up for a vote it looks like that is exactly what's going to happen. it's shameful. passing the senate was not easy. everyone had to make a compromise. but the farm bill touches on the lives of millions of americans at every single state. it is just too important not to act. the senate's farm bill is true reform. we cut the deficit by more than $23 billion. that's over ten years. we streamline programs to make them more efficient. went back to the drawing board on commodity programs and created a true safety net, one that works for america's farmers and also for the taxpayers. again, cutting the farm program by $23 billion. the house agriculture committee
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pushed out a bipartisan farm bill as well. i give the house agriculture committee a lot of credit. there are differences but the house needs to catch up because despite having a bipartisan farm bill pass the ag committee, the house leadership is refusing to take it up. this isn't my first farm bill. i can tell you from personal experience that this action in the other body is unprecedented. house leadership has never blocked a farm bill that has been reported out of the house ag committee. on september 30, our farm safety net programs expire. the farm program expires. just 11 days from now. this is our last chance to give america's farmers and ranchers the certainty they deserve. this is also an opportunity to provide a much-needed disaster assistance. not long after we passed the farm bill in the senate, a drought began to stretch across
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the united states. it's on the news virtually every night and has been for month. wheat and corn fields drying up. without forage, ranchers faced the decision to purchase extra 2350ed, cutting into thin margins. as of this week more than 2,000 counties have been designated as disaster areas by the usda. 36 are in montana, well over half our state is a disaster. there was a consensus in congress and across the countryside that something must be done. and the farm bill is that something. bipartisan vote here in the senate by a large margin and as i mentioned, bipartisan vote in the house ag committee. we have so many reasons to be grateful for the the hard work of america's farmers and ranchers. they help sustain health healthy rural economies. because the strength of america's agriculture they put food on the table around the world. in 2011, agriculture spoirts
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reached 1 -- exports reached $137 billion, a surplus of more than $32 billion and agriculture supports 16 million jobs nationwide. in montana one in five jobs is tied to agriculture. the farm bill is our jobs bill. last week many montana farmers and ranchers came to town to talk the farm bill. they each told me the same thing and sold other senators and house members the same thing -- we need a farm bill and we need it now. three of those montanans were bing van burnen to mark asin and charlie balm baumgartner from gt falls. like many montana farms, bing planned to plant their winter wheat. they'll be doing so with this current farm bill expired. they'll be doing so with no certainty what the farm programs will be.
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that certainty which clearly bankers happen to rely on to advance loans. they do not want to see the farm program expire. they do not want short-term extensions. they need the certainty of a full five-year farm bill. i urge the house to listen to what farmers and ranchers croats the country are saying. the time some pass -- to pass the farm bill is now. holding up the farm bill with bipartisan support is playing politics with the livelihood of our hardworking rural constituents. instead, let us do our job so farmers can do theirs. let us answer their calls and pass a five-year farm bill now. mr. president, on another matter, i'd like to speak for just a few minutes. i'd like to take a few moments to tell but a dedicated public serve ebt and his -- servant and his sudden. russ sullivan and ahaji amato
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hassan, or a.j., as he is known by his family and friends. a.j. died on july 28th this year. but in his short life, he inspired people through his exuberance for life, his courage and his determination. born in sierra leone, west africa, in 1992 during the midst of a brutal civil war. violence served as a backdrop to a.j.'s early childhood in freetown, sierra leone. as a young boy, a.j., his mother and two sisters were forced to flee their war-ravaged country to guinea, where they found safety in a refuge camp. however, life in the refugee camp was difficult. there's no work for adults, no formal schools for children, and little hope for a better life. unable to return to their homeland, their lives were put on hold for eight years as
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refugees. but a.j. remained hopeful of a brighter future. that day came in 2002 when their father, who was living in the united states, was able to bring a.j. and his sisters to america. the children, 15-year-old osmata, 11-year-old a.j., and nine-year-old loretta, moved in with their father in virginia. however, their father had struggled in america, and like many who don't have steady work, he did not have health insurance. so when a.j.'s father got a tooth infection, he ignored it. left untreated, the infection spread throughout his entire body and a.j.'s father died. an aunt tried to raise the three children on her own but had difficulty making ends meet. the children were split up. a cousin took in loretta, osmata stayed with their aunt, and a.j. was taken in by a man named russ
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sullivan. russ has long been serving as a foster parent in the community. he has monitored and mentored dozens of young men, becoming the legal guardian of some and helping hundreds see a different course in their life. russ took in a.j. then russ took on additional responsibilities of becoming a.j.'s legal guardian. so who is this man, russ as a rule varusssullivan? russ sullivan is the staff director of senate committee on finance. he is known here in the senate, as senator harry reid has said, as a problem solver. russ has developed a reputation for leadership, dedication, and respect for his colleagues. his staff admires him. his colleagues trust him and admire him. and i am honored to call him a friend. nobody who has met and worked with russ sullivan has a different point of view. i've never heard anyone utter a criticism of russ sullivan and
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no one ever will. he's that kind of man. the philosopher, thomas carlyle, once said, "the work an an unknn good man has done is like a vein of water hiddenunderground secretly making the ground green." that's russ. his name is not in lights. people don't know about him. he's working to solve problems that make the ground green. under russ's nurturing care, a.j. began to adjust to his new life in america. a.j. had boundless energy, loved to play soccer, fun to be around, great sense of humor, made friends easily and loved to flirt with the girls. a.j. completed high school but had no intention of going to college. that was, until russ came into his life. in april 2011, a.j. told a newspaper reporter that his life changed after meeting russ.
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quote -- this is a.j. -- "i was just going to do what everybody else was doing -- drop out, get a job. but after i met russ, everything changed about my mentality toward life. he started pushing me, getting me to think harder. he's a great man and i thank god i met him." a.j. first enrolled at salem international university, and after a year transferred to university of west virginia. he majored in sports management and loved being a mountaineer. then tragedy struck. in a senseless act of violence, a.j. was assaulted in front of a local college hangout. he fell, hit his head hard -- back, head snapped -- and over the next few hours slipped into a coma. on capitol hill, we were in the middle of the deficit-reduction negotiations when russ received the news about a.j., and he
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rushed from washington to west virginia, where he stayed at a.j.'s side. over the next month, russ was traveling back and forth and back and forth from west virginia to washington. this is during the super committee talks. russ was juggling not only his career but also a.j.'s medical treatment. he was also forecasting what we could do, he was fostering several other boys. this is not the only boy that russ is the -- a foster father for. and russ kept working with the extended family and friends in the loop, kept working with them and telling them and keeping them informed about a.j.'s condition. i on which hear the media reports about capitol hill being dysfunctional. sides are polarized, compromise is a dirty word. but when chris campbell, the republican senate finance staff director, heard the news about a.j.'s injury, he enlisted his staff and the republicans stepped up to help. they took wednesdays.
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for the next couple of months, russ's boys -- 18 in total when they're all home from college -- imagine, russ sullivan is a foster father for 18 different young men. for the next couple months, russ's boys knew that wednesday night was pizza night coming from the pockets of the republican finance committee staff. wednesdays was that night. a.j. was moved from the west virginia hospital to children's hospital rehabilitation center in washington, d.c., where he remained for the next several months until after his death in july. we mourn for the loss of this young man who brought an incredible light to this world and a light to russ's world and to all who met him. brought such a light for such a short period of time. we are fortunate to have russ working here on capitol hill. russ epitomizes public service.
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he's honest. he's direct. upbeat, positive, looking for solutions, cutting through all the red tape. he always seeks to understand the arguments and keeps searching for the common ground. constantly, constantly. senator reid keeps asking me, "can russ help here? what can russo about this?" in trying to reach out to the other side to find agreement. he's always been someone i respect and trust. he's also someone i have come to admire. months have passed since a.j.'s death but his zest for life remains in the hearts of those closest to him. as russ continues mentoring and helping others, changing lives one after another. just last week, russ witnessed a victory for another one of his boys. a boy had been wrongfully convicted of a crime and was facing deportation. but because of russ's continued diligence and commitment, his
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innocence was proven and the conviction was overturned. that was just a few days ago. harvard professor rosenbeth ross cantor once said -- quote -- "a vision is not just a picture of what could be. it is an appeal to our better selves, a call to become something more." russ sees the vision of what could be and rolls up his sleeves to make it happen. i know i speak for all of us in the senate finance committee and many of us in this body as a whole when i say, thank you, russ, thank you for making us want to find our better selves. thank you for working to make the future better. and thank you for all that you do. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from utah. mr. hatch: mr. president, i'm personally very, very grateful for the wonderful remarks of my colleague, the chairman of the
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finance committee, because he -- he couldn't -- he -- i don't think any words could express how much russ means to all of us. he's a wonderful man. he's a wonderful leader on the committee. he's honest. he's straightforward. he works with you. and, frankly, we all think the world of him on our side as well. and i -- i just want to compliment the distinguished chairman for his beautiful remarks about a tremendous person and the foster children that he has worked with. russ is the epitome of greatness on the senate finance committee and as a staff member of the united states senate. so i want to just personally pay tribute to him and express my sorrow over the loss of his son a.j. and express my love and affection for him. a good man helping a good chairman.
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we work together very closely and i just have a lot of regard for what the chairman just said and a lot of regard for russ and wish him the best and i hope that the good lord will comfort him and comfort his soul during this very trying time. mr. baucus baucus: thank you, s, very much. and i know russ appreciates that and we all do. thank you. mr. hatch: thank you. mr. president, i would ask moo that my remarks be placed at the appropriate place in the record that i'm about to give. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. hatch: mr. president, on july 12, 2012, the obama administration's department of health and human services issued an information memorandum informing states that for the first time in the 16-year history of the temporary assistance for needy families program, h.h.s. would permit them to waive welfare work requirements. this action undermines a robust work-first approach that was one of the key features of the 1996
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welfare reform act. if allowed to stand, this action could result in activities such as journaling, bedrest and smoking cessation classes being counted as work for the purposes of meeting federal work -- welfare work performance standards. now, this change in policy presents a serious substantive question -- should taxpayer dollars go to welfare recipients who are not working but instead are journaling or working to quit smoking? but it presents serious institutional questions as well, because the action by the obama administration was, quite simp simply, a unilateral power grab that usurps the constitutional power of the legislative branch. and every member of this body ought to concerned -- ought to be concerned about it. that is no small thing. our constitution, for good reason, locates the law-making power in the congress and that is because our fawning fathers understood -- our founding fathers understood that in a republic of laws, the lawmakers must represent the people directly.
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the people must have a close hold on the representatives who create the laws under which we live. if changes are going to be made in the welfare work requirement, it should be up to the gross make them -- up to the congress to make them. faceless bureaucrats at h.h.s. should not be the ones making changes to the welfare work requirements. yet that is exactly what happened here. unelected bureaucrats at h.h.s. are attempting to change the law, a law passed by the united states senate and the whole congress. if left unchecked, welfare policies being substantially changed by the obama administration in a way that never would have been acceptable to the people's elected representatives in congress. no administration should be permitted to disregard the laws that congress passed and simply make up their own rules. for 16 years, no president, health and human services secretary, or governor, regardless of political party, believe that welfare work requirements could be waived.
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if the obama administration believes that welfare work requirements should be changed, they should submit a legislative proposal to congress. in the 3 1/2 years before the july 12 information memorandum, the obama administration never offered a legislative proposal to change the welfare work requirements. the unprecedented nature of the obama administration's new -- new -- their power grab is supported by the nonpartisan government accounting office. on september 4, 2012, the g.a.o. responded to an inquiry from me and ways and means chairman dave camp. let me put that another way. from ways and means chairman dave camp and me. they determined that the july 12 memorandum was a rule that should have been submitted to congress. g.a.o. further found that as a rule, the information memorandum was subject to the congressional review act. the congressional review act
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provides congress with an opportunity to review and, where appropriate, disapprove rules issued by the executive branch. when more and more of the rules to govern the american people are being made by unanimous and un -- -- anonymous and unelected bureaucrats with no responsibility to reflect the priorities of the american people, the congressional review act is a critical device and one we should always uphold. it allows the people's representatives in congress to stand up and reject a rule emanating from the federal bureaucracy. the committee on ways and means favorably reported the resolution of disapproval last week. the full house of representatives will consider the resolution of disapproval this week. i have introduced h.j. s.j. res, a resolution of disapproval here in the senate. i am pleased that my resolution is cosponsored by 21 of my colleagues. the congressional review act also provides for fast-track consideration of a resolution of disapproval when a senator has secured at least 30 signatures on a discharge petition.
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that means no filibuster. i am pleased to report that i have well over 30 signatures on a discharge petition. unfortunately, this expedited process does not kick in until later this month. the senate will -- will be voting on my resolution, there is no question about that. the only question is when, in my view, we should -- is when. in my view, we should take this matter up now. it is a critical issue for the american people and it is a critical issue for this institution. as the people's representatives, it is a dereliction of duty to stand by while unelected officials attempt to change the law unilaterally without the constitutionally prescribed input of the people's representatives in congress. for that reason in a few moments, i will propound a unanimous consent request for debate followed by a vote on proceeding to the resolution of disapproval. madam president, it's a simple request. a vote on the resolution of
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disapproval is inevitable. the only question is whether or not the majority will allow a vote in a timely manner. therefore, i ask unanimous consent that the committee on finance be discharged from further consideration of s.j. res. 50, a joint resolution disapproving a rule submitted by h.h.s. regarding welfare waivers, that there be two hours of debate on the motion to proceed equally divided and controlled between the two leaders or their designees. the senate then proceed to a vote on the adoption of the motion to proceed. the presiding officer: is there objection? a senator: madam president, i reserve the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: madam president, under my reservation, let me first thank my colleague from utah for bringing this matter before us, but like him i was in the congress in the late 1990's when we passed the law and i
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remember being part of welfare reform. prior to that time, we had aid for dependent children, which was an entitlement program. that offered the states the opportunity to move forward without risk because they were guaranteed a certain amount of money for every child that was eligible for every family that was eligible for welfare funds. we changed that to provide for temporary assistance for needy families, and i remember very clearly working with the states and working with my distinguished colleague. we told the states you're going to get a block grant, that means you are going to be bottom line responsible for the program, that there will no longer be a guarantee on the number of families that are enrolled in welfare as to the dollars you are going to receive. we promised you two things. we told the states we were going to give them the tools they need to get the job done, provide the funds so that they could provide for job training, so that the
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people on welfare would have adequate skills in order to get jobs. we promised them childcare so that the children could be taken care of while they are in the work force. we provided the tools. but we also said we would provide the states the flexibility to get the job done. we provided accountability and accountability was participation rates which could be satisfied by different ways but said the states have the flexibility to get the job done. a model of federalism that we would let the states experiment, figure out was the best way to accomplish the results, getting people off of cash assistance, getting them into the workplace. now, let me just point out to my colleagues, the waiver authority has been in the law for a long time. section 1115. we have had our disagreements with all administrations on the use of the waiver authority. my colleague refers to the g.a.o.'s report which dealt with
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five waivers that were requested from 2000 to 2009. those state waivers sought relief from the specific requirements, that didn't bring forward an innovative new approach to try to use state experimentation to get the best results. it's interesting that in 2008, under the bush administration, health and human services documented that the waiver authority indeed existed as it related to the participation rates and the way in which they could be satisfied. secretary sebelius has made it clear the waiver will only be used for a credible plan to increase employment by 20%. so she is looking at using the waivers to increase participation rates, to increase the number of people who are actually employed. if there is not progress within a year, the state runs the risk of losing the waiver.
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it's focused on improving employment outcomes for participants. now, madam president, i must tell you i'm extremely disappointed about the partisan nature of this discussion. i say that because i think we have all seen the ads that have been put on network by governor romney that accuses the obama administration of eliminating the work requirement on welfare, when in fact the use of this waiver authority hob to strengthen the work participation rates, to strengthen the work participation rates. these ads have been condemned by major news sources on both the left and right. they understand this. so you would think that once governor romney understood that his ad was misleading and wrong, he would take it off the air, but instead he has actually increased the usage of this ad, which i find to be outrageous. maybe it is consistent with governor romney's recent
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disclosure of his concern for half of america, saying it's not his problem. my job, our job is to consider the needs of all of our constituents. tanf is a program that i think represents a model in federalism. it allows us to learn from the states so we can take their best models and use it for national policies. that is the reason for federalism and that is the reason we went to the tanf reform. what the waiver authority is being used for is to give us that experimentation. we have heard from more and more states that congress mandates too much. i hear it from our republican colleagues all the time, that we have too many mandates. well, some states have a better way of doing it. rather than spending their money dealing with the mandates, they said look, we'll accomplish the bottom line, we'll get more people working, we'll get better
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results, we'll get better people trained. we will not only get people employed but they will have the skills to go up the employment ladder, to really succeed and have good-paying jobs in our lifetime. let us -- let us do what's right and then you can learn from us rather than having to listen to the specific band-aids that some of my colleagues would like to see in stone here from washington. so, madam president, this was a commitment we made to the states in the 1990's. the waiver authority, existing law. the secretary of health and human services, secretary sebelius, is only using it for innovative approaches that increase the work responsibilities of the state, not diminish it. it's been well documented. and for all those reasons, i do object. mr. hatch: madam president? the presiding officer: the objection is heard. the senator from utah. mr. hatch: madam president, i appreciate my colleague's remarks, much of which i agree with. that still doesn't negate the
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fact that the administration has acted unilaterally, as the executive branch, to usurp powers of the legislative branch. that's the issue here. it's a very, very important issue. it's the responsibility of the congress, not the president, to give the states flexibility with regard to the work requirement, and the congress is pretty explicit on that. g.a.o. has reported today that even though states had requested a -- or inquired about waivers, no administration, not the clinton administration, not the bush administration, not the obama administration believe they have waiver authority. that is until july 12 when h.h.s. did this. and i think they know that they are wrong on this. well, the latest g.a.o. report details how whenever states
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requested tanf waivers in the past, h.h.s. responded that no such authority exists. between 2000 and 2009 during the clinton, bush and even obama administrations, h.h.s. has consistently told states they have no waiver authority. specifically, g.a.o. finds that at least five states asked h.h.s. about tanf waivers during that period. in two of these cases, g.a.o. said h.h.s. official response said that they -- quote -- "did not have authority to provide waivers." unquote. in the three other cases when states asked informally, g.a.o. reports that h.h.s. responded, saying -- quote -- "the requested waiver authority was not available." unquote. separately, h.h.s. in 2005 and 2007 published two -- quote -- "program instructions -- unquote about flexibilities in tanf, both indicating no waiver authority existed. in these instructions, h.h.s.
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stated that -- quote -- we have no authority under current law to waive any of the tanf statutory requirements, end quote, and -- quote -- we have no authority to waive any of the provisions of the act, end quote. only the obama administration has claimed the -- quote -- authority, unquote, circumvent ing congress. now, this isn't just a political issue, as the distinguished senator from maryland, one of my dear friends here. we both graduated from the university of pittsburgh law school school of law. i have a great admiration for him and great feelings towards him, but only the obama administration has claimed this -- quote -- authority, unquote, circumventing congress. the latest g.a.o. report highlights that only the obama administration has claimed the authority to waive welfare work requirements. further, g.a.o. notes that this action by current h.h.s. officials is in response to the president's february, 2011,
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memorandum, which according to subsequent administration genocidance solicited -- quote -- "input on significant statutory barriers that could be addressed through waivers. unquote. especially when viewed in the context of the president's -- quote -- we can't wait, unquote, agenda, it's clear that this h.h.s. proposal is part of an organized administration toafort toafort -- to circumvent congress and its legislative authority, and we have seen that time after time. an abusive use of executive orders. now, look, tanf has worked amazingly well because of the work requirements in tanf. there is a good reason why no other administration has tried to pull this type of a stunt. and whether you agree with the administration or not, it seems to me we ought to first uphold the rights and powers of the legislative branch of government that cannot be circumvented just because a president wants to --
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wants to do something on his own. now, that's what's involved here, and i think we ought to all stand up, democrats and republicans, and say look, you're not going to be able to do this. if you want to do it, then you're going to have to do it with statutory changes or at least ask congress for permission. and that's the purpose of asking for this vote which has been objected to. we'll have to do it, i guess, during the lame duck session, but the purpose is to stand up for the rights of the congress of the united states and especially the rights of the united states senate that are being ignored here. there is a lot more i can say about it, but i think that basically covers it. i appreciate my colleague and his feelings on this matter. there is no question that to put it into category that this is mitt romney trying something, mitt romney has had basically nothing to do with it other than he agrees with what we have done, and he said that after we did it. he did not come to me and ask me
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to do it. the fact of the matter is that we're standing up for the legislative prerogatives that really we ought to stand up for, and the g.a.o. said should be stood up for because they declared it a rule. the g.a.o. is not in the pockets of republicans or democrats. it's there to try and determine these type of issues that are extremely important legal issues, extremely important legislative issues, extremely important separation of powers issues. so that's what we're doing here. it shouldn't be a political issue. we ought to just vote and let it go at that. but it's been objected to. i'm willing to wait until the appropriate time to have the vote. mr. cardin: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from maryland. mr. cardin: thank you, madam president. i very much appreciate my friend, senator hatch. we are good friends, and i very much appreciate the point he makes. i need to at least correct two points. one, i graduated from the university of pittsburgh
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undergraduate law school. i'm a graduate of the university of maryland law school. mr. hatch: if the senator would yield, i certainly retract my statement on that but i feel badly that you didn't graduate from the university of pittsburgh as i did. mr. cardin: i was afraid to apply. the second point, on a more substantive matter on this debate, i just really want to point out that the requests that were made for waivers between 2000 and 2009 were from the requirement, the final requirement. they didn't seek to bring forward a demonstration program or a different way to get to the results. the difference here is that states can, should have the flexibility to be able to come in with innovative ways if they accomplish at least what we set out in law for them to accomplish. in fact, these demonstration waivers, they'll have to do
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better on the end result on people working. i wanted to point that out because i thought there were differences from the prior requests that were made in secretary sebelius' response. madam president, i would ask unanimous consent that the following staff of the senate finance committee be afforded privileges for the duration of the consideration of the continuing resolution: fernay dosaya, sarah butler, manda sellers, brian watt and daniel lynn. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. hatch: madam president, i just add if they want that type of authority, they should come to the congress and ask for it because we put that authority, subject to congress decision-making. and it shouldn't done unilaterally by an out-of-control approach by the executive branch. and that's what's involved here, and it's important. you know, whether you're democrat or republican, we ought to be standing up for the legislative branch and our rights and our prerogatives and
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powers. and there's nothing that says that states can't add work requirements that are legitimate work requirements in the statute. they didn't need this type of a unilateral decision by the h.h.s. department to do that. that's the point. mr. sanders: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from vermont is recognized. mr. hatch: i ask unanimous consent that paul sheerduwin with the homeland security committee be granted floor privileges for the remainder of the caucus. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. hatch: thank you. the presiding officer: the senator from vermont. mr. sanders: thank you. madam president, today i am very proud to introduce the older americans act reauthorization bill of 2012 with 14 of my colleagues, including senators blumenthal, kerry, mikulski,
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begich, akaka, durbin, gillibrand, leahy, wyden, franken, johnson and merkley. this bill is the result of an impressive team effort. we have reached out to a number of members on the committee and others who have brought forth ideas of their own. and i'm very proud as chairman of the subcommittee on primary health and aging to have introduced this bill. and i want to thank the director of the subcommittee, ashley cunningham, for her work as well as sophie cassamo and erica sullway. madam president, it is important to me that this important piece of legislation has not been dealt with during this session. but on behalf of the millions of elderly people to whom it
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applies and for whom it will make life better, i am introducing it today because it will lay the groundwork for what we have got to do next session. madam president, originally enacted in 1965, the older american act, older americans act was the first edition by the federal government to help senior citizens remain independent in their homes and communities. the older americans act has historically received bipartisan support. this act provides federal funding for some important programs that many americans are familiar with. among others is the meals on wheels program. and that means that all over america we have seniors who are frail, seniors who are unable to leave their homes. and every single day all over this country there are volunteers who are delivering hot meals, nutritious meals to
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seniors. i want to thank all of those volunteers and to tell you that we're going to do the best that we can to increase funding to end some of those waiting lines that now exist throughout this country in terms of seniors being able to get the meals on wheels program. and another important nutrition program that the older americans act deals with is the congregate meal program. in vermont, and i know all over this country, every day seniors come to senior centers where they're able to socialize, able to have a good time, able to break through their isolation and also receive nutritious meals. and the meals that they receive are significantly funded by the congregate meal program. in my view, they are inadequately funded. we want to increase funding for that program as well. i would mention that in the state of vermont, just one small state, almost one million congregate and meals on wheels
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are served every single year. one million meals in a small state like vermont. madam president, we are in the midst of a terrible recession. unemployment is too high. wages are too low. many people have lost their homes. but in the midst of this recession, we do not talk enough about the plight of many elderly people. they are living their lives often in great financial distress under the radar screen. i think we are not paying enough attention to their problems. today incredibly enough, one in five american seniors over the age of 65 are living on an average income of $7,500 per year. and the numbers of seniors going hungry is rising.
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hunger among seniors in the united states of america today is a serious problem. in fact, there are over five million seniors who face the threat of hunger, and others who are struggling every single day to make sure that they have enough food in the refrigerator to take care of their most basic needs. madam president, the very good news is that the older americans act has developed programs to address these needs. yet, because we have more seniors who are in need of these programs, it is absolutely imperative that we address the problems of hunger and make sure that every senior in this country gets the nutrition that he or she needs. and this legislation, this bill that we are smith today -- that we are submitting today with 14
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cosponsors will request higher authorization for nutrition programs, for supportive services, for jobs programs. one of the things that the older americans act does -- not a lot of people know this -- provides unemployment opportunities for many seniors. this is important because it allows hard-pressed seniors to earn additional revenue but it also allows seniors to go out into the workforce and get meaning into their lives, which is extremely important. this legislation also provides for chronic disease self-management and the long-term care ombudsman program. this bill also strepb thepbts -- strengthens efforts to identify and prevent elder abbureaucracies provide support for family caregivers and care coordination activities, and increases protections for seniors living in nursing homes and receiving home care
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services. madam president, we need to see the reauthorization of the older americans act early in the next congress. with 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 each day and middle-class families experiencing rising costs from education to health care as well as the need to provide care to their aging relatives, we are at a critical moment in terms of how we address the very serious problems facing our senior citizens. the interesting point about the older americans act and about the nutritions programs is that while yes it is an investment of federal dollars, in the long run it actually saves us money. we had a very interesting hearing on this issue and we heard from physicians who told us what kind of common sense would suggestion. that if seniors do not get the
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nutrition that they need, if they become malnourished, they are more likely to become ill, end up in the hospital, end up in the emergency room. in addition, when you have senior citizens who are not getting the care they need at home, the attention they need, the nutrition they need, they are more likely to suffer serious falls, break hips, end up in the hospital at great expense. so the bottom line here is not really rocket science. is that if you make sure that seniors through outthis country who are vulnerable -- who are frail, who do not have a lot of money, if they get the nutrition and attention they deserve while at home, they will be healthier, less likely to end up in the hospital and emergency room at great expense to our health care system. investing in the older americans act is not only the right thing to do, not only the humane thing to do in terms of taking care of
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the most fragile people in our society. it also makes good financial sense for our country. madam president, i thank very much the 14 cosponsors that we have, and we are going to aggressively do our bet to make sure that this legislation is passed either in the lame-duck session or when we return next year. and with that, madam president, i would yield the floor and note the absence -- yield the floor. mr. franken: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from minnesota is recognized. mr. franken: thank you, madam president. i would like to associate myself with the remarks of the senator from vermont. i am one of the cosponsors of the reauthorization of the older americans act. and i just, before i talk about a bill that i've just introduced, i just want to say, to underscore the fact that the older americans act was
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introduced in 1965, and it keeps -- it allows seniors to stay in their homes. and it saves money. and it costs $6 a day to do meals on wheels per senior. and this allows seniors to stay in their home and not go to a nursing home. we know what a nursing home costs every day. so this is an example of just common sense. seniors want to stay in their homes if they can. and this is -- i've been through the presiding officer in my state in minnesota doing round tables on the older americans act. it is a great program that we need to reauthorize in order to do a, really a commonsense thing, which is allow seniors to stay where they want to stay -- in their home -- and at the same
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time not have them spending the kind of money they would be spending in a nursing home or in that kind of facility. so i commend the senator from vermont. madam president, i rise today to talk about a bill that i've just introduced, the arbitration fairness for students act, and talk about why it's so important to protect our nation's students. access to higher education is becoming increasingly important in our nation. in 2018, 70% of the jobs in our state, madam president -- minnesota -- will require some postsecondary education. but we must also make sure that access to higher education remains -- stays a positive experience and not a damaging one. colleges and universities need to deliver on the promises that
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they make to students. and if they don't, students need to be able to hold them accountable. that's why i've introduced this bill today along with senator harkin and six cosponsors, including senator sanders. it would prohibit any school participating in the title 4 federal student aid system from forcing its students to forego access to the courts when they have a valid dispute, and instead forcing them into private arbitration proceedings. this bill is about accountability. it's about the basic american right to seek justice in our court system, a right that is, unfortunately, being denied now to thousands of students today after the landmark supreme court
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decision in the at&t mow built conception case. a recent report from public citizen and the national association of consumer advocates highlights how that decision is harming students. before that decision, thousands of students who have attended a chain of culinary schools formed a class-action lawsuit alleging that the school had exaggerated the salaries of its graduates, and they won. the students received payments of up to $20,000 each, which they desperately needed since, according to the lawsuits, these students typically had more than $40,000 in student loan debt. but that was before the conception decision, which now allows corporations to block
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class action lawsuits through the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in their employee contracts -- or in their contracts. now a group of students that can prove that they were lied to by their college can be barred from accessing our court system. i think that's wrong and my bill would change that. but don't just take that from me. take it from judges who are ruling in the post-concepcion world and who feel that the students are being hurt. in one recent case, students alleged that a school misrepresented basic facts, like the costs of education, and the school's accreditation status. the students even showed that they had to sign the enrollment contract which contained the mandatory arbitration clause before they were allowed to
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speak to financial aid counselors. the court ruled against the students, citing the conceptcion decision. the court argued -- quote -- "the argument had considerable validity and the court likely would have found the arbitration agreements at issue here unconscionable if it were issuing this decision pre-conceptcion." the court also said that conceptcion -- quote -- "like the foreclosed the possibility of many recovery for many wronged individuals." as i said, this bill is about accountability. it's also about college affordability. our higher education system often requires students to take on tens of thousands of dollars in debt. in exchange for this debt, students believe they are receiving an education that will allow them to pay that money
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back, often because that's exactly what the school is telling them. but what if the school is -- is lying? students need to be able to hold those schools accountable for their actions. otherwise, what's going to stop other schools from charging whatever they want and convincing their students that they can afford it by lying. now, what we can stop these anticonsumer, anticonsumer contracts. congress has acted several times to protect individual industries from abuse of mandatory arbitration clauses. in 2001, congress heard from william shack, a longtime automobile dealer from nevada. he told his story to congress about how he and a partner had been working together to open a
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saturn dealership, investing a lot of money, when saturn suddenly pulled the deal. as the result of the arbitration clause in their contract, mr. shack and his partner were required to arbitrate the dispute. in his testimony, he said that federal legislation was the only remedy available to protect auto dealers from the imposition of these unfair contract provisions, and to preserve state procedural and substantive protections. he explained -- quote -- "we reject categorically the idea that we voluntarily agreed to submit to mandatory binding arbitration" -- end quote. the most compelling portion of mr. shack's testimony was this, and i quote again. "the dispute drove home to us in a drastic fashion just how
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one-sided the mandatory binding arbitration process can be for dealers. we were surprised to learn despite the great system of justice we have in this country we could be deprived of the basic right to an impartial decision on the merits of our case, that is a grave injustice"-- unquote. in response to stories like mr. shack's, senator orrin hatch introduced the motor vehicle franchise contract arbitration fairness act. the bill had 66 cosponsors. an equal number of democrats and republicans. not surprisingly, there was opposition to this legislation. the chamber of commerce testified against it. but congress decided to prioritize the rights of auto dealers to seek justice in our courts, and in november of
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2002, congress passed this bill, passed, made it law. today, auto dealers cannot be bound by mandatory arbitration provisions in their contracts with their manufacturers. this change didn't result in a flood of litigation. it simply provided some equal footing for small auto dealersship to bargain with the large manufacturers. once congress determined that this particular industry was subject to abuse, it took action to protect the vulnerable party. congress again acted in 2007 to protect members of our armed services. congress heard from military leaders that predatory lenders -- let me say that again. predatory lending targeted at our nation's service members was
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impairing our country's military readiness. in response, republican senator jim talent from missouri along with his colleague, senator bill nelson of florida, a democrat, introduced an amendment to the 2006 national defense authorization bill. their provision prohibited predatory lending practices, including a prohibition on enforcing mandatory arbitration clauses in financial agreements with service members. this amendment passed the senate unanimously. and went into effect in 2007. despite strong opposition from the wall street lobby, congress came together in a bipartisan manner to target abuses against our service members. in addition to auto dealers and service members, congress has
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also taken up the plight of poultry growers. in a 2007 hearing in the senate agriculture committee, one witness shared this terrible story. ger trued overstreet was a 67-year-old contract poultry farmer. she operated two chicken houses. so her total monthly income including food stamps wass there lest than a thousand dollars a month for her and her husband. mrs. overstreet had a tenth grade education. when the poultry producer for whom she worked violated the terms of their agreement, the company required mrs. overstreet to bring her claim into arbitration where she was required to pay $27,000 in up-front costs before she could
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even get a hearing. mrs. overstreet didn't know what arbitration was or that her legal remedies had been stripped from her. this is an elderly couple who could not afford the cost of their medication, much less $20,000 in up-front arbitration fees. this might be the most compelling example of disparate bargaining power. a giant poultry processer versus mrs. overstreet. but senator grassley took up this cause and introduced the fair contracts for growers act. thanks to his efforts when the farm bill passed the following year, it included provisions that enabled poultry farmers to opt out of mandatory arbitration clauses imposed by the big
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processers. most recently, congress took up an amendment that i introduced in the national defense authorization bill in the fall of 2009. some of the most offensive uses of mandatory arbitration clauses i've seen are by the overseas military contractors against women who have been victimized on the job. too many women working for military contractors have had to endure unimaginable workplace harassment and violence. those women deserve their right to a day in court just like the auto dealers, the service members, the poultry farmers. once again, the amendment passed with broad bipartisan support. once again, congress took steps to tackle the most egregious abuses of mandatory arbitration. when confronted with a group that has been victimized by
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mandatory arbitration clauses, congress has repeatedly taken steps to protect the little guy. and the right to a day in court. and we have done so on a bipartisan basis. i believe minnesota's students and students across the country deserve the same protection that we have afforded to auto dealers, the service members, poultry farmers, and employees of military contractors. the arbitration fairness for students act would provide that protection, and i urge my colleagues to support it. thank you, madam president. and i yield the floor. and i would suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll.
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quorum call:
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a senator: madam president? the presiding officer: the senator from iowa is recognized. mr. harkin: i ask proceedings under the quorum call be dispensed with. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. harkin: i ask that mike
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sebosci be granted floor privileges. the presiding officer: without objection, so ordered. mr. harkin: as i've done every day since we returned from our august break, i've been talking about the impact of the ryan budget, which is now the romney-ryan budget, on america. and what it would mean for our future. so i take the floor today as i have in the past to talk about one aspect of it. in the past i've talked about the impact on health care, on education, on the social safety net. today i'd like to talk about what we're -- what the romney-ryan budget does to our infrastructure, to job training, to avenues to the middle class for people. the real question that the american people face this coming election is are we going to restore and rebuild the middle class or are we going to continue to shift own he even more and more of our wealth to just a few at the top at the expense of the middle class.
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now, my republican are friends have made clear where they stand on this. they did so when nearly every republican in congress voted in favor of the ryan budget plan which governor romney embraced as marvelous. well, the very centerpiece is the dramatic shift of even more wealth to those at the top. huge new tax cuts for the richest 2%. those making more than a million dollars a year will get an extra $394,000 a year in tax breaks under the ryan budget. that's on top of the $265,000 that they already have. so that brings it up to well over $400,000, almost $500,000 a year that they would get. now, we keep hearing a lot of talk about entitlements for the poor. you know,, hear governor romney talk about entitlements, he always focuses on the poor. how about this? this is an entitlement. if you make over a million dollars, you're entitled to it. up won't hear him talking about
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that entitlement. so how do the republicans and the ryan budget, how do they pay they're these huge tax cuts that total $4.5 trillion over ten years? well, the romney rhyme budget would partially offset the tax cuts by making deep draconian cuts to programs that undergird the middle class and are essential to the quality of life in this country. as i said, everything that from education, student grants and loans, to highways, bridges, other grass projects. lastly, the budget offsets tax cuts for those at the top by actually raising taxes on the middle class. yes, you heard me. that is exactly right. the nonpartisan tax policy center estimates that under the ryan plan, middle-class families with children would see their taxes go up on average by more than $2,000. the bottom line is that the ryan budget does not reduce the deficit.
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the savings they gain by slashing spending, raising taxes on the middle class basically go to offset $4.5 trillion in new tax cuts which i just pointed out go to the wealthiest americans. this i think shows you right here what's happened to the deficit. we always hear talks about balancing the budget. the -- well, the truth is representative ryan and mr. romney are not interested in balancing the budget. their plan would not balance the budget until 2040, 28 years from now. 28 years from now. as i said earlier, mr. ryan is a true accolyte of former vice president cheney, who, in an unguarded mommy, said that -- ud moment, said deficits don't matter. that was vice president cheney. well, if you look at the debt piled up under the bush years, you'll see that they didn't think deficits mattered. and look at this.
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here's the debt held by the public under the ryan budget just going for the next 20 years. look at the debt. the debt goes up, it doesn't go down. and where does this debt go? tax cuts for the wealthiest americans. that's where it goes. representative ryan doubles down on the theory that if we give an even greater share of wealth to those at the top, it will magically trickle down, a theory that was tried under president george w. bush, but in the years after those bush tax cuts, we know what happened to the jobs in america -- they plummeted. they plummeted in the years after george bush and those tax cuts went into effect. now, today i just want to focus specifically on the impact of the romney-ryan budget on our nation's infrastructure and job training. both, i believe, are crucial for the creation of middle-class jobs in a competitive global economy. regrettably, the ryan budget would be a devastating 1-2 punch
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to our nation's economy. it would drastically slash investment in infrastructure. that would destroy hundreds of thousands of well-paying jobs. it would radically reduce funding for job training, reducing opportunities for the unemployed to get retooled for jobs in sectors of the economy where they're needed. madam president, the united states now competes in a global mark place -- global marketplace. to improve our competitiveness and to give our workers the education and skills they need to compete, both our public and private sectors must make robust investments in infrastructure, education, job training. overcrowded and crumbling roads, outdated waterways, other means of transportation and transport have a profoundly damaging effect on our economy. this increases the time and expense of moving goods. it hurts our global competitiveness, as i said, especially at a time when our
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rivals in the global marketplace are investing heavily in both infrastructure and job training. even maintaining our current levels of infrastructure investment will have negative consequences for our economy. that's if we just maintain what we have. the american society of civil engineers predicts that if current trends continue, by 20 2020, our deteriorating infrastructure will result in 900,000 fewer jobs and $900 billion in lost economic growth. now, this was the american society of civil engineers in 2011, said that the deficiencies in america's roads, bridges and transit systems cost households and businesses roughly $130 billion, including approximately $97 billion in vehicle operating costs." you can read that to mean potholes and things that bang your car up. "$32 billion in delays in travel
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time" -- if you've been stuck in a lot of traffic -- $is.2 billion in safety costs and $590 million in environmental costs." that's the society of civil engineers. that's not an arm of the democratic party or any party. this is -- this is -- this is really a very nonpartisan economic look although what's happening iat what'shappening a. so by slashing these investments to even lower levels, the ryan budget will only make these problems worse, not better. in fact, the ry ryan budget cuts transportation spending by one-third in the first year. we're not talking about a little nip and a tuck on infrastructu infrastructure. here is the fiscal year 2012 enacted transportation budget, $89 billion. the ryan-romney budget for next year, $57 billion. almost a one-third cut. think what that would mean to the jobs in america. think what it means to our
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crumbling infrastructure. then you have to compare how much we're investing in our infrastructure to what one of our biggest competitors, china, is doing. so here's china. as a per percent of their gross domestic product, g.d.p., they're spending 9% of their infrastructure on g.d.p. here's the united states in 1960, when i was a college student working summer jobs, working -- laying pavement and building bridges on the interstate highway system, we were spending 4% ooches our g.d.p. on -- 4% of our g.d.p. on infrastructure. we're now down to 2.4%, and the romney-ryan budget would take that even lower. so already our federal investments in infrastructure are inadequate. for example, we have failed to bring the half-century of-old interstate highway system into the 21st century.
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again, the romney-ryan budget would make that even worse. the ryan budget would make dep cuts to the funding for the corps of engineers, which is already grossly underfunded and struggling to maintain a deteriorating waterway system so crucial for the movement of bulk goods and, i might add, also crucial for flood control. madam president, the ryan budget also would take a meat ax to federal funding for job training and education, america's pathway to the middle class. it would jeopardize vital job services for millions of americans. 31 million americans got federal help with their job searches last year. help to write their resumes, prepare for interviews, information about the best jobs available in their local area, referrals to job openings. several hundred thousand were also able to participate in job training under federal programs. this gave these american workers the opportunity to compete for good jobs so they have a shot at
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the middle class. it created a steady supply of skilled workers for u.s. businesses, made their productions, their operations more rubbing active, and it helped them to grow -- more productive, and it helped them to grow. think about this, several hundred thousand people out of work were able to participate in job training because of federal programs. you know, that's part of mr. romney's 47% that he says he doesn't care about, that are the takers in our society. no, no, mr. romney. they're not takers. these are people struggling to make a better life for themselves and their families. they want job training. they want better education. they want to upgrade their skills. they want to work. the romney-ryan budget would pull the rug out from underneath them and say, tough luck, you're on your own. well, i don't think they should be on their own. they should be part of our american family. without sustained robust investments in quality infrastructure and well-trained
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workers, america will fall behind, job creation will suff suffer. this is a critical threat to the future of the middle class in our country. so, madam president, in essence, the ryan budget essentially rejects the very possibility that the federal government can act to spur economic growth, boost competitiveness, and create good middle-class jobs. but this flies in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary. at critical junctures, going back to the beginning of our republic, the federal government has stepped up to the plate, acting decisively to spur economic growth, foster innovation, and help create jobs. 1791, alexander hamilton presented to congress his landmark report on manufacture manufacturers, a set of federal policies designed to strengthen the new republic's economy by creating a network of roads and canals. the most visionary 19th century advocate of federal
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investments to spur economic growth was the first republican president, abraham lincoln. in 1862, he signed the -- the pacific railway act authorizing federal land grants to finance construction of the transcontinental railroads, one of the great technological feats, by the way, of the 19th september tri. but lincoln did much more. he created the department of agriculture to modernize u.s. agriculture and distribute land to farmers. and as a proud graduate of iowa state university, i also note that lincoln dramatically expanded access to higher education across the united states by signing into law land grant college systems. taken together, these initiatives had a transformative impact on the u.s. economy. you know, it's humorous to imagine how today's republicans would have reacted to lincoln's agenda. what if abraham lincoln were to present this today to the tea
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party? he wouldn't get anywhere. later, i 1950's, there was anotr republican president, dwight eisenhower, who championed one of the greatest public works projects in history, construction of our national highway system. a 1996 study concluded that the interstate highway system is an engine that has driven 40 years of unprecedented prosperity in america. in recent times, the federal government has funded and spearheaded scientific discovery and innovation. the department of defense really invented the internet. it was federal research that led to the invention of the global positioning satellite system. mr. president, any discussion of the federal government's historic role in discovery and innovation and job creation must acknowledge the staggering achievements of the national institutes of health. more than 80 nobel prizes have been awarded for n.i.h.
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supported research. so it's absurd to claim that the federal government cannot play a positive and even profound role in boosting the economy and spurring innovation. but the romney-ryan budget demands that we permanently hobble the federal government. that's the romney-ryan budget. this negative, defeatist viewpoint is dead wrong and the disinvestment that it advocates will set our country into a death spiral of stagnation and decline. going back to the 1930's, the american people have supported and strengthened a kind of unique american social contract. the social contract says that a cardinal rule of government is to provide a ladder of opportunity so that every american can realistically aspire to the american dream. the ryan budget would rip up that social contract. don't take my word for it. former ronald reagan economist,
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economic advisor bruce bartlett on the ryan budget said this -- quote -- "distributionally, the ryan plan is a monstrosity. the rich would receive huge tax cuts while the social safety net would be shredded to pay for them. -- to pay for them." shredded to pay for them. well, mr. president, the ryan budget rips up the social safety net, disinvests in our infrastructure, cuts funding for job training, cuts money for education, cuts money for health care. as i said, it is a negative defeatist viewpoint that will set our country into a death spiral of stagnation and decline. the romney-ryan budget would
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replace that unique american social contract that we have with a survival of the fittest, winner take all philosophy that tells struggling, aspiring americans and their communities tough luck, you're on your own. mr. president, i agree with former president bill clinton, we have two philosophies here. the romney-ryan budget, tough luck, you're on your own, or the other philosophy that we're all americans and we're all in this together. we're all mutually supportive. we bieve in the ladder or ramp of opportunity. yes, we believe the federal government has a powerful role to play in making sure that all americans can aspire to the american dream, they can reach the middle class, can achieve the highest of their poe -- potentialities and abilities. that's the difference. i think the american people need to know, need to know what's in
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that ryan budget. you might say well, a budget's a budget. a budget's a blueprint. just as you build a building, you have to have a blueprint. well, a budget is a blueprint for the future of where you want to go. communities have budgets, families have budgets, schools have budgets. you have a budget so you can plan. it's where you want to be in the future. the ryan budget is a blueprint for defeat, and they death spiral into stagnation for america. i believe the more that the american people understand and know what's in that ryan budget, the more they are going to turn it aside and say no, we can do better than that in america. we need a budget that we flects our hopes and aspirations and our ability as americans to work together to achieve the american
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dream for all. mr. president, with that, i yield the floor and note the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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the presiding officer: the senator from south dakota. mr. thune: i ask unanimous consent that the quorum call be lifted. the presiding officer: without objection. mr. thune: and that i be allowed to speak. mr. president, the senate is sort of wrapping up its business, if you will, until
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after the election, and it's ironic in a way that there are so many big issues in front of us as a nation, so many challenges, and we are here talking about things that i am sure are important, but once again, punting, kicking the can down the road on all the big crises that are in front of us as a nation, and i have to say, mr. president, that never before have a president and a senate done so little when the nation's challenges are so great. people have talked about the fiscal cliff repeatedly, and people have talked about the fiscal crisis that we find ourselves in in terms that i think ought to frighten all americans, certainly ought to frighten members of congress. it talked about the most predictable crisis in american history, probably in human history. it's not like it's any surprise
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what's going to happen. we are repeatedly reminded by all the experts that if we don't deal with this issue of the fiscal cliff, that it's going to have devastating catastrophic impacts on our economy, on our national security, on our country, on the american people. and yet, we are not addressing and doing the things that we should be doing to -- to avert that disaster that's ahead of us, the fiscal cliff that faces us on january 1 of this next year. it's not as if there aren't already lots of -- there isn't already a lot of evidence that we have got big problems. we just crossed the $16 trillion level in terms of our debt. we have added over a trillion dollars to the debt every single year now for the past four years since president obama has taken office. that's $50,000 for every man, woman and child in america. everybody in america, man, woman or child, has as their share now of the federal debt $50,000. so it is a -- it is a fiscal
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crisis unlike anything that we have seen before, and it has, as i said, been predicted. the congressional budget office has said that if we don't deal with the fiscal cliff, that it will plunge the economy into recession. they have suggested that it will reduce by 2.9% the size of the economy. we would actually have a contraction in the economy in the first six months of next year. it also projected that it would drive unemployment above 9%. granted, we're over 8% today, we have been at 8% for 43 consecutive months. that's the longest stretch in history. if you go back to the time when the bureau of labor statistics started keeping unemployment data and you add up the 11 presidents from harry truman up through the end of the bush administration, george w. bush, about 60 years, there were 39 months where the unemployment rate exceeded 8%. that's 11 presidents in about 60 years of history where we have
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had unemployment above 8%. we have now had unemployment above 8% for 43 consecutive months. 39 months in the first 60 years since they started keeping data. 43 months now in a row under the current administration. you have the federal reserve telling us that if we don't deal with our fiscal crisis, that the economy is going to soften next year. you have ratings agencies like moody's suggesting that if we don't have a plan in place, not only to deal with the sequester that's going to occur at the end of the year in a way that is paid for but also to deal with the longer structural problem we have, the debt and deficit crisis that we have in this country, that we are facing a downgrade in our credit rating. you had the world economic forum come out here just recently with their assessment about the world's most competitive economies. and back in january, 2009, when president obama took office, the world economic forum found that
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the united states had the most -- the number-one most competitive economy in the world. in terms of global competitiveness, the united states was ranked number one. now we have dropped. we have dropped to fifth. this year just recently as i mentioned when they came out with their current rankings, the united states had dropped down to seventh. so in a short four-year time span, we have gone from first in terms of global competitiveness down to seventh. that doesn't speak well for the steps that are being taken here in this country to make america competitive in the global economy, to deal with the problems of spending and debt and the fiscal cliff that's ahead of us. it was interesting to note at the world economic forum, what did they point in terms of their analysis, why did they come to the conclusion that the united states had fallen from first in january 2009, when the president took office, to seventh here this year? well, they pointed out spending, debt, taxes, regulations, red
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tape; all the things that come from washington, d.c., all the things that are controlled by policies here in washington. the regulations that continue to spin out of various government agencies and drive up the cost of doing business in this country make us less competitive. the higher taxes that are being assessed on our economy in so many different ways. and of course all the taxes that are going to take hold, take effect as part of the health care law, obama, that are going to kick in. so you're going to have higher taxes. you've got the red tape associated with doing business in this country and the bureaucracies, the mandates, the requirements that are imposed on our small businesses and our job creators. then, of course, as i said, you've got this massive amount of debt that hangs like a cloud over our economy in this country; all factors that contribute to this assessment that has basically downgraded the united states from the number-one position in terms of global competitiveness down to number seven. and so the question before the house is: what can we do?
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what should we be doing to avert that crisis? it strikes me at least that it starts with having a plan and working together, having the president step forward with a plan that would make sure that our economy doesn't go into a recession next year, that makes sure that the defense cuts that would occur under the sequester which are terribly disproportionate relative to the size of the defense budget as a percentage of our total budget don't harm our national security interests, figure out ways to solve that problem, to reduce spending in other areas, to redistribute those cuts. defense represents only 20% of our entire budget but it gets 50% of the cuts under this across-the-board sequester that would take effect on january 1 of this year. our national security experts, our military leadership have said that if these cuts take effect, that we would have the smallest army since the beginning of world war ii. you'd have to go back to 1940 to find a time when we would have
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an army that's that small. you'd have to go back to 1915, before world war 1 when we would have a navy that is as small as it would be if these cuts take effect and the number of ships we have at our disposal. and we would have the smallest air force literally in the history of the air force. that's what our military leadership is telling us will happen if these devastating cuts take effect. you've had the secretary of defense, leon panetta, the president's own secretary, say that this would be catastrophic, that these cuts would be disastrous. you have the service chiefs saying the very same thing. and so we have got all this right in front of us staring us in the face, and instead of dealing with that crisis, we're putting bills on the floor that really don't have near the consequence as i said, i'm sure important. i'm not denigrating any of the legislation that the senate is considering, but it seems to be right now geared a lot more toward the election than it is about saving the country and doing the things that are
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necessary to avoid this cliff that's ahead of us and all the disastrous consequences that come with it. as a point of fact, we've had over 43 months, or 43 months of 8% unemployment or above, 23 million americans who are unemployed or underemployed. the data continues to suggest how sluggh our economy is, the impact that it's having on the middle class in this country. in fact, middle-class americans are continually hit by continued bad news. you start with the fact that since president obama took office, average incomes have gone down almost $4,000. you add on top of that the fact that fuel prices have literally doubled in that time frame, now more than doubled. in fact, we hit in the month of september -- this month -- the highest fuel price ever for the month of september. and that's a cost that is borne by middle-class americans. that's one of the biggest
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expenses in their lives is dealing with getting their kids to and from school, getting to work, taking care of just the day-to-day activities that they're responsible for. the cost of fuel is a very important pocketbook issue to middle-class americans. and then you have news that the kaiser foundation came out with that says that health care costs, health care premiums have gone up by 29%. now that is despite all the assertions when obamacare was being debated that it would drive health care costs down. in fact, the president as he campaigned for office four years ago talked about bringing the average premium for an average familying -- i should say the premium for an average family down by $2,500. well, the opposite has happened. according to the kaiser foundation, health insurance costs have gone up by 29%. and instead of coming down by $2,500 for the average family, they have gone up by over $3,000 for the average family.
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whether it's health care costs, fuel costs, tuition costs, which, by the way, have gone up by 25%, you see this -- and average incomes which have gone down, you see this worsening picture for middle-class americans. and all of that will be dramatically complicated by what's going to happen on january 1 if we don't take action to avert had a crisis. and what happens january 1? as i mentioned, you've got an across-the-board cut that -- it's across-the-board in the sense that everything gets hit but not everything gets hit proportionally. defense gets 50% of the cuts although it represents 20% of the budget. you're going to have all these cuts that take effect, the national security budget and the jobs that go with that. but you also have, also have taxes going up. tax rates go up on january 1 that will absolutely devastate job creation in this country if they're allowed to take effect. in fact, the total amount of tax increases that will hit us on january 1 if congress doesn't
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take action over a ten-year period is about $5 trillion. about $5 trillion over a ten-year period in additional taxes. and even if you say, as the president does, that we want taxes just to go up on people who make more than $200,000 a year or couples who make more than $250,000 a year, you are harming almost a million small businesses, the very people we're looking to to create the jobs to get the economy moving again. almost a million small businesses who file income tax returns. they are pass-through entities or flow-through entities, organized subchapter s organizations or l.l.c., would see their taxes go up, almost a million small businesses who represent 25% of the workforce, or hire 25% of the workforce in this country. that is a huge tax increase that is facing job creators in this country come january 1 of this
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year. so, mr. president, these are things that the congress, the united states senate, the president of the united states ought to be focused on. and yet, we aren't getting that focus. in fact, it's hard to get even information from the president of the united states about how he would implement the sequestration proposal. we passed legislation earlier this summer which he signed into law in august which required him to submit to the congress a proposal for how he would implement sequestration. we finally, after the delay, missed the deadline; received that last week. but again, it lacks specificity, it lacks detail. congress asked to have that on a program project-specific area, and we didn't get that. as a consequence, still operating without the information that's necessary to do something to replace that sequestration. and i have to say that the house of representatives has attempted
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attempted -- they passed in their budget in the subsequent reconciliation bill that went with it a replacement for the sequestration so that we wouldn't have this $500 billion cut in our national security budget and all the attendant problems and risks that come with that. and yet, that wasn't picked up. that wasn't acted on here in the united states senate. and so unfortunately we are where we are, which is we're going into the election season now. we haven't dealt with the across-the-board cuts, the sequestration, haven't dealt with the issue of taxes going up on january 1 on people who created jobs in this country. and for that reason we have all these government analysts concluding the same thing and that is we are headed for a train wreck. that's what we ought to be focused on, mr. president, right now. and frankly, that's not going to happen unless we get some leadership from the president of the united states. you've got to have the president engaged, involved in these
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discussions if we're going to try and solve this problem. and i would hope that the leadership here in the united states senate would be a partner to that as well. i know that there are republicans here, we have tried to get votes on ways to replace the sequestration or come up with a substitute for the defense cuts that it includes. we have tried and actually gotten some votes on extending the tax rates at the end of the year, but that was voted down here. but the democrat leadership in the united states senate has got to be a party to the discussions as does the president of the united states in order for us to do what's necessary to avert what we know is going to be a calamity come january 1 unless we change course. and so, mr. president, i would, as we begin to conclude this particular session of the senate -- i see my colleague from wyoming, the senator from wyoming, senator barrasso, is here, physician and doctor, i know who has spoken at great length about the impact of many of the policies that are coming out of washington on our small
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businesses, on our middle class. and i certainly would want to give him an opportunity to make some observations about that as well. but i just want to conclude by saying that i hope before this catastrophe hits us that we have the foresight and the willingness to take on, and the courage to take on these big issues. and you can't solve big issues in this city without leadership. and that's going to take leadership from the president of the united states. it's going to take leadership in the united states senate. and as i stand here today, we haven't seen that. we haven't passed a budget in three years. we haven't dealt with any of the long-term problems that are posed and raised by the fiscal cliff that hits us on january 1 of this year. i hope that changes. i hope we see that leadership. and i hope that we can get this country back on track. mr. president, i yield the floor. mr. barrasso: mr. president? the presiding officer: the senator from wyoming. mr. barrasso: thank you, mr. president. i'd like to associate myself with the remarks of the senator from south dakota who speaks so
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eloquently on the major issues facing our nation, concerns for people all around the country: the quality of life, cost of energy, cost of their health care, the impacts of government regulations and rules that make it harder and more expensive for small businesses to add workers to their rolls. i come to the floor today as a physician, a doctor who has practiced medicine in wyoming taking care of families there for about a quarter of a century, to do as i've done week after week since the health care law was passed, to give a doctor's second opinion about the health care law. because one of the reasons i got involved in politics was as a doctor, i was concerned for my patients, worried that they weren't getting the care they need from the doctor they want at lower cost, realizing the impacts of costs on the availability of care, the quality of care. and so when the health care law was passed, i have great concerns, because i felt it was going to end up being bad for
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patients, bad for the providers, the nurses and doctors who take care of those patients, and terrible for the american taxpayers. and it was interesting that during the discussion of the health care law when nancy pelosi, then-speaker of the house, said that, in terms of the health care law, first you had to pass it before you got to find out what's in it. well, the law has been passed, and as more and more people are finally finding out what's in it, the law continues to be very unpopular. but it is interesting when a law is written behind closed doors, passed in the dark of night, when people on the side who voted for it actually never read it, didn't understand the implications that here we are two years later with so many people still saying what's in it. and one of the things i want to mention about today, mr. president, is an article, actually an editorial in "the new york times" from just a
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couple of weeks ago. this is while i was traveling around the state of wyoming visiting with people, visiting with former patients, an editorial came out with the headline "a glitch in health care reform." "a glitch in health care reform." mr. president, for two years i've been coming back to the senate floor week after week after week talking about things that were in the health care law, unintended consequences, things people didn't realize were there, didn't understand were there, were surprised to find out were there. so the headline is "a glitch in the health care reform." right under that, the subheadline is, "millions of middle-class americans could be left without affordable coverage." and then my favorite line, the first paragraph: "confusing language in the health care reform law has raised the possibility that millions of americans living on modest
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incomes may be unable to afford their employer's family policies and yet fail to qualify for government subsidies to buy their own insurance." confusing language. mr. president, that's what happens when a law is written behind closed doors, not read by the people who vote for it, and the speaker of the house of representatives of the united states of america says first you have to pass it before you get to find out what's in it. and this, mr. president, is an editorial in "the new york times" two years after the health care bill has been signed into law. confusing language, a glitch in health care reform, millions of middle-class americans could be left without. and so it is not a surprise that i will continue to come to the senate floor with a doctor's second opinion because we will continue to find more confusing language leaves people confused.
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now, one of the areas that so often is discussioned on the senate floor is the congressional budget office. they came outout today with a new report. it talks about the health care law. no surprise, said they got it wrong a couple of years ago. they've relocked at the ups -- relooked another the numbers, this is the congressional budget office supposed to be an expert at making suggestions and predictions and today they came out with a report called "payments of penalties for being uninsured under the affordable care act." let's go back. payments for penalties. this is a health care law that reaches do into every home in america and says you must buy a government-approved product. you must have health insurance. not enough money to pay for doctors to care for patients, but plenty of money for i.r.s. agents to invest the american
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people. and what does it say when you go through the report? they said, well, they thought there would be about four million people that would have to be paying penalties for being uninsured under the health care law. well, they were only wrong, they say, by 50%. they were off by 50%. not four million but six million americans will be penalized and have to pay taxes under the health care law as the supreme court found to be constitutional, well, it may not be unconstitutional but it is still unworkable, very unaffordable and very unpopular. so i come to the senate floor week after week as new reports continue to come out saying c.b.o. was wrong, "the new york times," talking about confusing language. you know, mr. president, i would say james madison, the father of the constitution, had it right when he said you should
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pass no laws so voluminous they cannot be read, so incoherent they cannot be understood but that's what democrats in the house and senate did when they passed and when the president signed the health care law. now, another report has just come out within the last couple of days, and i recall the president when he was talking about the health care law, he said that computerizing medical records he said would cut waste and eliminate red tape. now what does the report say? well, it says the amount of paperwork, the amount of man hours put into just complying with the rules and the regulations may have come up -- they are predicting and i'll get into those who have done the prediction -- that businesses and families will end up spending 80 million -- 80 million -- hours a year on paperwork trying to comply with this health care law.
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the former internal revenue service commissioner fred goldberg says the current form of the obama health care law will be a needless quagmire for millions of americans. the ways and means committee in the house of representatives under committee chairman david camp found more than half of those 80 million man hours will be consumed by small businesses. now, that is the group that can least afford to have to spend this kind of time, this kind of manpower. you talk about productive work and nonproductive work, and this goes in the category of nonproductive work. so you're either going to have to hire more people to just do paperwork or take people from doing productive work and move them into the nonproductive side. talking about 40,000 full-time people working the number of hours they would work to get you to this 80 million man hours of work. it is wasteful, it creates no
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wealth overall to the economy, it is not a productive activity. so those are the things that we see week after week, and then finally last week there was a group of franchise owners traveling around visiting with members on capitol hill about the impact of the health care law on them and on their small businesses. and they want hire people, get people to work. we know that under the president's economy there are 23 million americans who are either unemployed or underemployed, people looking for work, looking for better work, looking for more hours. but let's look at the incentives as well as the consequences that are included in the health care law. well, these small franchise owners what they will tell you is in order to try to comply with the law and not be driven out of business because of the expense of the penalties and the high level of insurance that they would would have to provide to their workers, they only have a couple of choices. one of the choices, they don't like it but one of the choices
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is to cut the number of hours that the employee works because then they're a part-time employee and then they don't have to receive the benefits of the mandates of the health care law. that's not what they want to do. it's not what the applies employs want. they want to work more hours. but the consequences of what the democrats in this institution have passed, the consequences are that people who want work more are going to lose that opportunity. the other thing that they're looking at, they're saying drop paying insurance at all and pay the fine, pay the penalty because it's a lot -- because the consequences and the incentives are such that fine is from -- the fine is from a business standpoint the path to follow rather than to provide a high level of insurance that the president mandates, but it may be a lot more insurance than the people want or need or that the small businesses can afford. so i'll continue to come back to the floor, mr. president, and
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talk about the president's broken promises. he said if you like what you have, you can keep interest. we know many people who may have liked their health insurance rant going to be able to keep it. he said insurance rates would drop by about $2,500 per family a year per year. we've seen the rates have gone up more than $3,000 a year instead of dropping $2,500 a year. the promises are many, the reality is quite different than what the president has promised and that's why the american people continue to find the health care law unpopular, it's why our seniors who have seen $700 billion of their medicare dollars taken away from them not to save medicare but to start a whole new government program for others, that's why they know it's going to be harder to find a physician to take care of them especially if their doctor retires or they move to a new location and that's why i'll continue to come back to the
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floor towk to talk about trying to help people get the care they need from the doctor they choose at lower cost. this health care law is bad for patients, it's bad for providers, nurses and doctors who take care of those patients and it's terrible for the american taxpayers'. that's why i believe we need to repeal and replace this broken health care law. thank you, mr. president. i yield the floor. the presiding officer: the senator from washington. mrs. murray: i come to the floor this afternoon to talk about the upside down values and blatant dishonesty that congressman paul ryan and other republicans have put down on paper and are trying to present to the american people as a responsible budget. the truth is it's anything but. mr. president, the ryan budget would be devastating for middle-class families. it would gut our investments in education and training, research, and our nation's future. and it would do all that while cutting taxes for the richest
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americans and biggest corporations. now, if that's not bad enough, it gets even worse. the ryan republican budget would permanently cut tax rates for the wealthiest americans to the lowest level in more than 80 years. more than 80 years. and it would cut taxes for the rich below the scheduled top rate of 39.6% below the bush tax cut rate of 35%, all the way down to just 25% if you're a millionaire or billionaire. but, mr. president, even that's not all. what paul ryan and the republicans don't want people to know is their budget doesn't even add up. it's fiscal fraud, it's bait and switch. it's a desperate attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of the american people. mr. president, ryan and the republicans claim they would pay for their massive tax cuts for the rich by -- quote -- "closing
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loopholes and ending deductions ." but they never say which loopholes they would close or which deductions they would eliminate. in fact, they've been pressed over and over to lay out their plan by the media, by the public, by democrats, and they refuse. it's just a big secret. this past weekend both governor romney and representative ryan were asked again and again to offer even one deduction they would limit. pick one, any one. they were asked so the american people could judge their plan. both refused. it begs a simple question: what are they hiding? former reagan advisor bruce bartlett slammed ryan's budget in a column in "the fiscal times" writing -- and i quote --"he offers only the sugar of rate reductions without telling us what the medicine of this base broadening will be, and he says -- quote -- "any tax reform
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plan that simply asserts it will collect a certain percentage of g.d.p. in revenue while specifying the rate structure but not defining the tax base is fundamentally dishonest in my opinion"-- unquote. well, mr. president, i agree. why is this? why are ryan and the republicans so specific about the taxes they're going to cut for the rich and so vague about how that's going to be paid for? well, mr. president, ryan and the republicans know when you do the math, it becomes very clear that under their republican budget, the rich pay less and the middle class pays more and the national debt continues to grow. and the math doesn't add up. here's why. here's what the republicans don't want the american people to think about. the most expensive loopholes and duks --, deductions, the ones republicans would need to eliminate to even start paying
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for tax cuts for the rich, those are the ones that middle-class families depend on and benefit from the most. like the personal and dependent deductions, charitable contributions, state taxes, local taxes, child tax credit, college tuition credit. these deductions are eliminated while tax rates are slashed for the rich. i would mean a massive transfer of the tax burden into the backs of our middle class. the richest americans get a massive tax cut and, an average of over 2 that $50,000 a year for someone who makes a million dollars a year according to analysis by the tax policy center. but the middle class, those families that depend on those critical deductions, the home mortgage, they'd end up paying more. they would benefit far less from a marginal rate cut than the extra they would pay after losing those deductions. if that sounds unbelievable, that's because it really is.
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if that sounds like something no elected official would ever want to talk about doing, well, that's exactly right, too. so what ryan and the republicans do when they are asked is simply deny it. they simply say, oh, that's not the case. they claim that loopholes and deductions will only be eliminated for the rich and the middle class don't have to worry about anything. well, it sounds nice but here's what they won't tell the american people: it doesn't add up. the tax policy center took a look at a plan that made a similar claim and even viewing it in the most generous way couldn't get it to work. they said -- and i quote -- "even when we assume that tax breaks like the charitable deduction, mortgage interest deduction and the exclusion of health insurance are completely eliminated for higher-income households first and only then reduced as necessary for other households to achieve overall net revenue neutrality, net
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effect of the plan would be a tax cut for high-income households coupled with a tax increase for middle-class house -- middle-income households." that last point is very important. according to independent analysis, if you cut rates for rich as much as the republicans want to and pay for it by closing loopholes and ending deductions, there's no way to avoid having the middle class pay more. that's a fiscal reality and it lays bare the fraud in the ryan republican budget. so, mr. president, not only does the ryan republican budget decimate programs middle-class families depend on, not only does it end medicare as we know it and push health care costs into the wax backs of our seniors, not only does it cut investments in jobs, in education, in training, in research, in innovation, in roads, it doesn't even add up.
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it's a fiscal fraud. i'm hoping the american people have the opportunity to see this clearly, republicans will is stop playing games. let's get serious about the fiscal future of our country and work with us on a balanced approach to this -- to cut spending responsibly, call on the wealthy to pay their fair share and actually reduce the deficit and the debt. and as soon as they're ready to do that, mr. president, as soon as they're ready to accept reality and end this fiscal cliff fraud, i know democrats are ready to make the kind of balanced and bipartisan deal the american people expect and deserve. thank you, mr. president. and i yield the floor. i suggest the absence of a quorum. the presiding officer: the clerk will call the roll. quorum call:
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mr. reid: mr. president? the presiding officer: the majority leader. mr. reid: i would ask unanimous consent the call of the quorum be terminated.
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the presiding officer: without objection. mr. reid: mr. president, we're trying to work through all the issues we have. there are a few of them, not too many, but a few. but i want everyone to know that we -- we can finish all of our work tomorrow. if we don't finish it tomorrow, we're not going anyplace. we're staying here until tuesday, probably 3:00, 3:30 because we have yom kippur on wednesday, but we will be right back here on thursday. we have to finish our work. so that means if we can't work things out, we're going to be here friday, saturday, sunday. i know that we talk about this once in a while and usually we're able to work things out, and i'm glad that we are, but just in case we can't, no one should think they are going to be able to catch an airplane out of here tomorrow -- i mean friday, i'm sorry. mr. president, i'll be very quick. i know that the assistant leader for the minority is here, and i
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don't want to take a lot of time of his. the senator from montana, senator tefer -- tester, has assembled a broad package of legislation that is bipartisan in nature to support the needs of sportsmen throughout the country. he has worked with these groups and i have been in meetings with him where he has tried to get the democratic senators to back off and let this package go forward and there has been some adjustments made because of problems that republicans had and democrats had. so i appreciate very much his work. what his bill does, it combines about 20 bills that are important to the sportsmen communities around this country. they would foster habitat conservation through voluntary programs. more than 50 national groups support this. these are sportsmen and conservation groups. this is an example of leadership that is important in this body, that work on something that
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brings together a disparate group of bills and are bipartisan in nature and try to move forward. we ought to pass this package today. mr. president, i ask unanimous consent that the senate proceed to calendar number 504, s. 3525, the sportsman act of 2012, that it be read a third time, passed, the motion to reconsider be laid on the table with no intervening action or debate and any statements related to this matter be placed in the record at the appropriate place as if given. the presiding officer: is there an objection? mr. kyl: mr. president, reserving the right to object. the presiding officer: the senator from arizona. mr. kyl: i had asked the distinguished majority leader if i requested an amendment to his request to add a piece of legislation that he and i both support, whether he would have to object to that, and i presume his answer is that he would have to object, and as a result, rather than doing that and forcing him to object, i'll simply pose my objection at this
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time. the presiding officer: objection is heard. the senator from montana. mr. tester: mr. president, i rise today to discuss the sportsman's act. the sportsman's act is a good piece of legislation. it is a piece of legislation that, quite frankly, one of the few times in this body that democrats and republicans can come together and actually do something that's good for this country and not play politics with it. our outdoor traditions in this country are deep and they are an important part of our heritage, and that's why two years ago when i became chair of the sportsman's caucus, i made something -- i made it a goal to do something, something significant that will help this country's hunters and anglers. mr. president, this week we have an opportunity, we have got an opportunity to play politics as usual or we have an opportunity to get something done. this sportsman's act is the biggest package of sportsman's bills in a generation. it combines, as the majority leader said, nearly 20 different
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bills, all important to the sportsman's community. these bills increase access for recreational hunting and fishing. they support land and species conservation. they protect our hunting and fishing rights. and most importantly, they take ideas from both sides of the political aisle. it's not about democrats. this bill isn't about republicans or independents. this bill is about americans and the great outdoors that we all share as a nation. this bipartisan bill is supported by 56 different conservation and wildlife groups, ranging from the nature conservancy and the national wildlife federation to the n.r.a. it earned their endorsements because it includes a wide range of responsible provisions that are sponsor to the sports men and women across america. mr. president, in my role as chairman of the congressional sportsman's caucus, sportsmen continually tell me about the importance of access to public lands. right now, right now, there are
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35 million acres of public land that sportsmen cannot access. that's why this bill requires 1.5% of the annual funding of the land and water conservation fund set aside to increase public land access, ensuring sportsmen across the country to some of the best places to hunt and fish in this country. this bill also reauthorizes the north american wetlands conservation act. this voluntary initiative provides matching grants to landowners who set aside critical habitat for migratory birds like ducks. over the last 20 years, volunteers across america have completed more than 2,000 conservation projects and protected more than 26 million acres of habitat under this successful initiative. the north american wetlands conservation act is a smart investment in both our lands and our wildlife, and it needs to be reauthorized. my widely supported bill also
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authorizes the secretary of interior to re-evaluate the price of ducks tabs to keep up -- duck stamps to keep up with inflation. revenue from these duck stamps has been used to purchase or lease more than six million acres of wetlands and preserve a vital wildlife population. this bill also funds new shooting ranges while encouraging federal land agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain existing ranges. this is a responsible bill that takes into account the needs of the entire sportsmen's community. now, some folks around washington are asking why is this important, but hunting and fishing is a way of life in places like montana. one in three montanans hunt big game, and over 50% of montanans fish. outdoor recreation contributed $646 billion in direct spending to this economy and this country just last year. hunting and fishing is not just recreation, it's a critical part of our economy. in montana, hunting and fishing
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brings $1 billion a year to our economy, nearly as much as our state's cattle industry. it's big business. it drives and sustains jobs. with bow hunting season open and rifle season opening in just a few days, this bill is as timely as ever. mr. president, the sportsman's act of 2012 is balanced, bipartisan, it is widely supported, it is fiscally responsible, the bill has no cost. i have been chairman of that congressional sportsman's caucus for two years. in that time, i have had folks from all across the country tell me why they love to hunt and fish. they have also told me how outdoor activities supports our economy and creates new jobs while sustaining old ones. they have told me about how much their outdoor heritage means to their families, about how concerned they are about losing those traditions, and frankly, they have told me how frustrated they are with washington and how too many good ideas, ideas from
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both parties get left behind because of political gridlock right here. mr. president, by approving this sportsman's package, we will conserve some of our most productive habitat, pass on our hunting and fishing traditions to future generations and entrust the land and water we share to them. sportsmen from across the west have been waiting for a bill like this for a generation, a bill with widespread support that preserves our outdoor economy and secures our outdoor heritage for our children and grandchildren. i know it's getting close to election season, but we have time left. the time that we are owg on the taxpayer's dime, and i think we ought to get something done. let's take some good democratic ideas and some good republican ideas and pass them. let's actually do something for the 90 million sports men and women that preside in this country and build


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